As a participating organization, you ensure early access to the results, you can shape the development of the label, and gain recognition as an organization that is shaping sustainable software development.
About this steering group
Over the past decade, computer hardware was cheap compared to the time and costs of the software developers. This lead to a philosophy of "adding more metal" rather than spending more time on optimizing computer code. From a social acceptance and technical feasibility point-of-view, this approach has reached its limitations. Governments as well as the public in are increasingly questioning the the environmental impact and resource consumption of the digital economy. Hardware itself has reached the limits of miniaturization and acceleration as exemplified by the end of Moore’s Law.
To deliver more sustainable software, it starts with architecture and the developers who are writing the code. To create transparency around energy use, and to give developers tools to reduce the required energy of their software, the German government has launched a new project together with SDIA. This project has already launched, and is financed by the Federal Ministry of Economics in collaboration with the German Environment Agency. It also involves the Öko-Institut e.V., which has already developed a methodology to measure software energy use. The SDIA has further partnered with the VU Amsterdam’s Green Lab to ensure alignment across Europe.
The objective of the project is to enable developers to consider energy consumption as part of the development process, and take energy consumption into account when selecting libraries and third-party components. This will lead to better environmental choices during the development process.
The outcomes of this steering group
- An applicable and repeatable approach to measuring the electrical power consumption of software development components and tools.
- The development and feasibility verification of a label for software applications regarding the electrical energy use.
- Political recommendations on facilitating the broader adoption of this measurement framework.
What do organizations gain from the participation in the steering group?
- Access to the results of the project before they are made public – be the first to implement the toolkits and labels.
- Be ahead of the market: adjust software products ahead of upcoming regulation and standards, and be recognized as an organization that is shaping sustainable software development.
- Shape the development of the label and underlying methodology on measuring the energy efficiency of software components.
How are funds and contributions from steering group members being used?
- Scaling and expanding the scope of the project: With the existing funding, the scope is limited to a few programing languages and frameworks. With the additional funding, we want to continuously expand the scope to providing a label for most of the available open-source packages.
- Standards work: Additional funding will be used to turn the research, results, proposed methodology, and label into an international standard for energy-efficient software development.
- Communication & Marketing: Increasing the visibility of the project and working toward wide market acceptance of both the label and methodology.
Regular monthly or bimonthly meetings with updates and reading material are distributed to all participants.
- Regular monthly or bimonthly meetings with updates and reading material are distributed to all participants.
- Moderation and organization performed by SDIA with ample opportunities to provide input and comments on the development of the project as well as the agenda.
- Semi-annual or annual gatherings of all steering group members for workshops, networking, and/or strategy sessions on the project.
What is the relevance of this project?
- With Google and Microsoft launching their carbon dashboards to understand the energy consumption of servers and cloud services, there is increasing momentum to understand the footprint of the software applications themselves.
- Many developers, especially in the open-source community, are committed to act on climate change; however, they are lacking the tools and information on what they can do to improve the environmental performance of the software that they produce. Our project gives them the tools to act.
- When companies are choosing suppliers and third-party software, sustainability is an increasing priority during the procurement process. KPIs and metrics are missing, however, a gap that our label can fill and which can help companies to differentiate among the myriad choices that exist.