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: 2016 IEEE/ACM 38th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE)
Date: 2016

Type of Experiement: Survey/Multi-Case Study
Sample Size: 18
Class/Experience Level: Professional
Participant Selection: Survey results from developers in various software companies and interviews with developer from MS
Data Collection Method: Survey


One of the biggest issues the Earth faces today is climate change and there can be benefits from designing software that is more conscious of that fact. For example, the amount of resources it takes to have servers and data centers up and running can definitely have an environmental impact. However, there isn’t much research into green methods of software engineering. This study aims to correct that by surveying 174 developers and conduction 18 interviews to see different software practitioners’ perspectives.

The study is composed of two parts. The first are surveys sent out to about 460 developers in major software companies like Google, IBM and Microsoft with the purpose of collecting quantitative data. The survey was composed of 36 statements that were rated using a Likert scale along with some open ended questions at the end. There were 174 responses to the survey. The second part of the study were 18 in-depth interviews with developers from Microsoft. These interviews were more qualitative and exploratory than the surveys.

The results of both of these methods found that most mobile software practitioners consider energy usage when designing requirements consistently and traditional practitioners also consider energy usage but not on the same level and mobile practitioners. However, embedded systems and data center practitioners are the ones that consider energy usage the least.