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In April, I was invited to join the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, to give an insight talk into the state of Green Coding (as part of Sustainable IT). The event was held in German, you can find the recording below and a live blog from the Ministry here.
Software consumes digital resources
Digital resources are generated from energy by computers.
We have almost reached maximum efficiency in the generation of digital resources from energy.
- Chips are no longer getting smaller (and thus more energy efficient)
- This means that in the future we will need more and more computers for more powerful digital resources, which will require even more energy.
The environmental impact of manufacturing computers is as significant as the energy consumption.
Example Drupal: A 1% efficiency increase= 2 million kWh per year lead - the annual electricity consumption of 1380 1-person households per year.
- There are 937,000 websites worldwide powered by Drupal.
- In 2008, a computer needed an average of 250 watts per hour to generate digital resources.
- If we assume that each Drupal website uses on average 10% of the digital resources generated by such a server, this corresponds to an energy consumption of 205.2 million kWh per year.
- A 1% reduction in the consumption of digital resources for all Drupal installations corresponds to a reduction in energy consumption of approximately 2 million kWh per year.
- This corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of 1380 1-person households in Germany.
To put "Green Coding" into practice you need 3 things:
- Responsibility: The digital sector must take responsibility for the environmental impact of the consumption of digital resources.
- This requires attention and visibility for the dimension of environmental impact created by the digital economy and digitization.
- Transparency: Providers of digital resources must make the environmental impact visible and transparent to software producers and developers.
- This requires rules, because infrastructure providers have no incentive to make the environmental impact of their resources visible, as this creates the risk that customers will consume less - the same applies to the energy sector.
- Tools and Methodology: An ecosystem is already emerging across Europe for tools and methodologies developed by volunteers and made available as free open source software.
- These volunteers need support and visibility and frameworks in which you can further develop your tools in a value-oriented way.
As SDIA e.V., we work as an independent think tank for sustainable digitization and as an exchange platform for stakeholders who want to shape a sustainable digital future.
- Sustainable (for people, the environment and the economy)
- Thinking ahead
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