What does it mean to be a green coder?

Climate change is, and has been, a hot topic globally. Reducing sea levels, sea temperatures, CO2 emissions, transitioning from fossil fuel to renewable, walking instead of using the car, sustainable fashion choices, eating less meat, using heating less, reusing and repairing, buying second hand. These are some of the societal, political, commercial and individual challenges and choices we face as we try to achieve various targets set both in the UK and globally.

From a young age I have had a green conscious. From writing English essays on topics such as plastic bags and free range chicken to chairing my school Eco Committee to completing the 2050 Climate Group's Young Leaders Development Programme to working for an environmental charity. Now I am not saying my life is entirely green, I believe it is all relative, but it is something I have been mindful of.

I always assumed my career would have some positive environmental impact to it. After discovering coding and pursuing it, I momentarily pushed my green credentials to the side. Now I have found my career path, something I enjoy and am good at, I don’t want to give this up. I have started thinking a lot about ,what is the environmental impact of this? What is a green coder? Does it exist or is this another coined phrase?

I decided to do some research and was pleasantly surprised what I found. Green coding is where code is written that minimises the energy consumption of software during processing but delivering the same application or result. A lot of energy is required to power data centres, so if we can reduce and streamline the amount of data being processed we can reduce energy consumption.

  1. Downsizing

You can downsize the file size of images, text, or video by using media compression software. It will cut the file sizes in half, promoting faster navigation, lower energy use, and better user experience.

  1. Prioritisation

Website developers need to know the prioritisation of high-quality media so that the quality of programs and applications should be maintained.

  1. Reducing the lines of coding

Green coding helps reduce the lines of coding, offering a beautiful approach toward environmental conservation. So, instead of using libraries and frameworks, which leads to large code lengths, you can use the good old manual coding practices wherever possible. It will not only help reduce emissions but also provide superior code quality.

  1. Migrating to the cloud

Cloud energy is more efficient in terms of easy scaling and cost-effectiveness.

This list is by no means exhaustive! I have merely introduced the topic. There are a lot of different practices and options to make your coding greener, not all will be achievable for every person or company.

Now that I have learnt more about this, I aim to uptake these practices and try to make my coding greener. It is not something that can be done in a day, but like anything being mindful and conscious about your decisions, it can become routine. I hope that by making a conscious effort I can continue to make environmental considerations in my daily life through my work. I hope that you too can be inspired to explore greener coding practices.

*** This list of best practices was used from Geek Flare

SustainabilityGreen CodingDevelopment
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Written by Anya McDonald


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