Saturday, March 28, 2009

Being a Green Programmer

I know:

  • You are busy coding.
  • You are working on p1.
  • Your Manager wants to meet you in 10 minutes and already 1 min is gone reading till here.

For those whose vocation is Programming and you always have the above excuses or hand-cuffs and even then you want to be Eco-Friendly, glance at the titles and pictures. The pictures are dedicated to you.

For all others, I promise it is worth reading and I recommend to follow at least one.

Who is a Green Programmer?

All those people whose job is Ctrl+c, Ctrl+v (I know there is a lot more) and who have already realized that the Beautiful Earth is in danger and are desperate to contribute and follow a set of Eco-friendly rules, are already Green Programmers. The level is based on the number of rules you follow and the number of people you educate. The other synonym is Eco-Friendly Programmers.

Why should I become a Green Programmer?

Global warming, Acid Rain, Pollution, Hazardous waste, Ozone Depletion, etc. These terms are now more practical and live. By becoming a Green programmer, you are first aware of the cause and consequences; and then aware and follow the ways to reduce them.

How to become a Green Programmer?

Apart from following the best practices for programming, there is a simple set of Eco-Friendly practices, which needs a little extra effort. There are a few easy and basic rules defined in this blog and the rest is common sense.

If you have understood till now, you are already a Green Programmer.

Being the Green Programmer:

I asked a question in stackoverflow, "How to be an Eco-friendly programmer?" and I am going to use few of the answers here. For those answers that I got from stackoverflow, Notation is Answer:.

  1. Efficient Programming:

    If you have effective code running in production, you are already contributing to the Environment. Answer: "If your software is widely used, write decent code. Shaving 30 seconds off that image stabilization code saves 30 secs of computer time, every time it is executed (30 secs * 10000 execs/day * 30 days = 104 days of saved computing time). That's far more energy than you'll ever save personally."
    Try to complete all the tasks ahead of the schedule so that you don't have to do over time thus reducing the power consumption.

  2. Turn your stuff off:

    In a day, actual work, code, checking mails takes 6-8 hours and most of the systems remain switched on even after that because of
    a short break: coffee break, lunch break, Meeting, long phone calls. In such spans, Just switch off the monitors.
    or a long break: EOD, weekend. In such cases do shut down the machine and switch off the monitor. And for programmers, the desktop is in Schrodinger's cat state most of the time, it is better to hibernate.

    This means that if the machines are switched off after use, the power usage is only one-third.
    Apart from these,
    - Turn-off the mp3 players, i-pods, etc when not in use and switch off the lights, AC, fans while leaving.
    - Activate the Eco-functions of your computer, make it turn off the screen after a few minutes and go in stand by after a few more.
    - Use an empty screen saver.

  3. Remember Paper Comes from Tree:

    - Try using e-books, online materials, white boards.
    - Use a ceramic cup instead of paper cups.
    - Hand dryers and kerchiefs are better than paper towels.
    - Don't burn waste papers. Recycle.

    For those who work on report generation, Answer:
    "If you write software that generates reports try to:
    - minimize the unused space on a page (use two columns, etc.)
    - remove superfluous information or graphics (fancy headings ...)
    - allow the user to select the wanted information (print only what you need)

    This will reduce paper and toner (or ink) usage on the client side. If your client prints a lot of your software's reports, this will save much more paper than you can by cutting down your printer usage."

  4. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle:

    The advantages of reusable code for programmers is obvious.
    - Share the book that you have, let someone reuse it.
    - Share the common print outs.
    - Answer: "Buy an Aeron Chair. Not only because it's 94% recyclable; odds are you'll use it for a time span within which others would go through twenty (all destined for a local land fill). Extra Bonus: they are nice and comfy."
    - Don't upgrade your computer until you really need to. When you finally do, recycle your old computer, sell it, donate, or give it to an organization that disposes of computers responsibly.

  5. Telecommute, Cycle and Public Transport:

    Live close to work, the advantages are obvious. The only disadvantage may be, higher rents. If you are very far away from work place, try using Public Transport. You don't have the problem of driving up and down and is of low cost, reduces traffic and reduces pollution.

    - Telecommute whenever possible, Answer: "If you commute by car, work from home a couple of days a week if possible. You'll reduce your carbon output, and save a bit of money, too. I save ~£24 (~$34) a week (£1,248!) on diesel by working from home two days a week; that doesn't include car maintenance costs either. It's not insignificant. Plus, less traffic on the roads means less congestion which means free flowing traffic and thus much more efficient motoring for those who are on the roads."
    - Cycling has one more advantage of Good Health.


  • Once a week, try using public transport or cycle.
  • Discuss on a tea break on the points that you follow and those you are planning to follow.
  • Try doing one activity a week and then it becomes a habit.

This is not over. There are a lot more that our common sense tells us everyday. Now what are you waiting for? Join hands with the other Green Programmers, follow and spread the word.


Green Programmer


  1. Some excellent points in there! I already follow telecommuting, switching off devices when not in use and writing really fast code using C++ :)

    You should have another section: "Don't Use Java." Just kidding. :-)

  2. I think this is really useful stuff. Well Written!

  3. Very nice points. 1 from my side.
    With Hardware virtualization, you can:
    - Reduce energy costs by 80%
    So, go for hardware virtualization whenevr possible.

  4. Useful blog.
    Hopefully everyone follows for better tomorrow.

  5. This is very well presented....these are the rules, which are already known by us, but we neglect to follow them....I have been following some of these rules...and I try to follow all of them...

  6. Nice one.Being a programmer ,we can follow these rules (at least a few) instead of not contributing anything for green revolution as a normal human being.

  7. Hi,

    I would like to add a suggestion here.

    some of the members when waiting for lift keep pressing buttons for every lift in the vicinity.

    Can we request them to pick one lift and wait for the same.

    If a lift moves from floor 1 to floor 5 consumes 1 unit
    and if the lift stops at 3 places enroute, it consumes 1 more unit of power!!


  8. - Try using e-books, online materials, white boards.

    It adhere to Eco-friendly. As a developer, we need to consider these facts. Awesome!!

  9. @Sridhar:
    Good one. I never thought about lifts.

    Thanks. I missed the White Boards.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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