An Empirical Study of Practitioners' Perspectives on Green Software Engineering

Author(s): I. Manotas, C. Bird, R. Zhang, D. Shepard, C. Jaspan, C. Sadowski, L Pollock, J. Clause
Venue: International Conference on Software Engineering
Date: 2016

Type of Experiement: Survey/Multi-Case Study
Sample Size: 464
Class/Experience Level: Professional
Participant Selection: Participants were selected by looking for individuals working on energy related applications and with experience with green software engineering. Participants were asked to recommend additional participants.
Data Collection Method: Survey


This paper aims to uncover existing attitudes towards energy conservation and green software engineering and suggest new tools and strategies for improving application energy consumption. Towards this goal the authors surveyed 464 people actively engaged in projects where energy conservation and other green software practices are being used and asked questions about the energy requirements and considerations of the projects. The surveys also asked questions to gauge the participants support of green software and examine the underlying issues and concerns that green software projects focus on. The authors also interviewed 18 Microsoft employees for an in-depth look at green software practices.

This study concludes that the people surveyed consider energy when building software applications and that these people would benefit from better professional infrastructure to support green software engineering. However, since the participants were specifically targeted and chosen to be people who are directly engaged in energy-conscious software engineering, these results are not surprising and any conclusions are likely to not be generalizable. The paper goes on to suggest changes to the software lifecycle that would increase the focus on green software like including energy considerations in requirements documentations, connecting energy usage to quality requirements, shifting implementation effort to focus on system idle time, and other practices centered around considering and minimizing energy usage. Due to the selected sample it is difficult to say whether these changes would improve the software industry's energy focus as a whole.