UFOPLAN-SSD 2015 – Umweltforschungsplan: Sustainable Software Design 2015

Development of a methodology for the assessment of the energy efficiency of software products

Project duration: 01.07.2015 - 30.06.2017

Background

Information Technology is based on the interplay of hardware and software. While the hardware is a necessary requisite of an IT system, the software defines the behavior of such a system.

Nevertheless, when assessing the environmental impact, like the consumption of energy and resources, the focus is mostly set primarily on the hardware. Thus, the focus of "Green IT" was in the past years mainly on the optimization of hardware. The potential influence of the software side was usually not addressed, although gaining requirements from the software side are often a driver for a hardware replacement or upgrade process. So, the users and companies are forced to continuously replace fully functional systems with newer, more powerful machines.

Data intensive media formats consume most of the storage and transmission bandwidth and therefore require upgrading of data centers and data transmission networks.

As a consequence, the assessment of the environmental impact of software needs to become better quantifiable.

Project Goals

Within the project Sustainable Software Design, a methodology will be developed based on appropriate criteria and indicators to better assess the environmental impact of software. 

The methodology will support developers during the design process of resource efficient software as well as operators and users in the procurement process of existing software solutions. By identifying ambitious minimal standards, criteria for the labelling of sustainable software products shall be derived to establish a label for sustainable software products.

Therefore, the project Sustainable Software Design broadens the focus of "Green IT" by also putting software into the focus.

Work Packages

The project is split into the following steps:

  • Identification of existing solutions and indicators to measure the environmental impact of software
  • Elaboration of a methodology for the assessment of the environmental impact of software
  • Application of the developed methodology in several case studies
  • Derivation of minimal standards for sustainable software design
  • Elaboration of criteria for labelling Green Software

The criteria catalog for sustainable software will be made available here.

Project Partners

Öko-Institut, Berlin
http://www.oeko.de

Universität Zürich, Prof. Lorenz Hilty
http://www.ifi.uzh.ch

Umwelt Bundesamt
http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en