Green software is starting to become more of a buzz-word in the IT industry. What does this mean though? From looking into the market, we can examine two aspects of this 'revolution'. The first aspect is software that has a low impact on the environment with respect to resources. The second aspect is software which helps people lead greener lives.
Can software be green?
Software production can be greener and many companies are striving for this. This can be achieved in a variety of ways.
Companies can take a greener approach to how their employees get to work and where they get their electricity from. This is more of a life style and ethics change though.
More interesting are changes in programming. Open source coding for instance, can generally be more efficient through collaboration of resources. Also more efficient programming can take advantage of new computer architectures and more efficient use of hardware.
One trend at the moment which can drive you crazy is the lack of paper manuals. To be honest through once you get used to using them they can be a lot easier especially combined with a good search engine.
Software to help people be greener?
This is by far the more interesting for the consumer.
Ultimately you are looking for software which leads to greater understanding and thus, a more efficient use of resources.
This can range from Crash testing software (reducing the need to actually crashing cars), to software that tells farmers when is the best time to harvest through to software which reduces commercial energy usage such as optimising lighting, air conditioning, heating and sprinkler systems.
- But how does this help me and you?
First of all, there are websites like the Energy Saving Trust which lets you calculate your personal CO2 emissions and examines methods of reducing it through different activities.
Also there are small applications such as those for the Iphone which can help in small ways from finding shops within walking distance to measuring you mpg (miles per gallon).
The most useful by far, that we have found, has been the software which helps understand the results from electricity meters in your own home. It is debated that just having a visual aid of your electricity usage reduces your consumption by 15%. Now with great software to analyse this, you can really gain a better understanding and further reductions in your consumption. An example of this is the 'Holmes' software you get with the DIY Kyoto meter.
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