An Empirical Study of Practitioners’ Perspectives on Green Software Engineering

Author(s): Irene Manotas, Christian Bird, Rui Zhang, David Shepherd, Ciera Jaspan, Caitlin Sadowski, Lori Pollock, James Clause
Venue: IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering
Date: 2016

Type of Experiement: Survey/Multi-Case Study
Sample Size: 482
Class/Experience Level: Professional
Participant Selection: Mailing lists, peer and supervisor recommendation
Data Collection Method: Survey


This paper aims to document the perspectives and practices of software engineers working on environmentally conscious technology, as little is known about the field. As the use of mobile applications and embedded systems rises across the globe, more emphasis needs to be placed on making green technology.

The case study involved surveying 464 practitioners from ABB, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, and then conducting 18 in-depth interviews with Microsoft employees, all of whom are involved in green software engineering. Participants in the survey were asked 155 questions in total with responses rated on a scale of 1-5 in regards to frequency and agreement about requirements, design, construction, defect fixing, and maintenance of the software they've worked on. Based on the results of the survey, they found that green software engineering practitioners care and think about energy when they build applications; however, they are not as successful as they could be because they lack the necessary information and support infrastructure. The large sample size combined with the thorough quantitative analysis of the questions lead to convincing conclusions drawn from the study.