Environment Variables
Decarbonize Software 2023: Recap
December 14, 2023
Chris Skipper hosts this episode of Environment Variables with guests Sophie Trinder and Adam Jackson to discuss the unveilings, questions, and highlights from the recent Decarbonize Software 2023 event. The GSF has announced its Impact Framework during the event that had taken place in November, and together with Chris, our guests discuss the realities of (and dreams for) the state of green software in this recap of Decarb 2023.
Chris Skipper hosts this episode of Environment Variables with guests Sophie Trinder and Adam Jackson to discuss the unveilings, questions, and highlights from the recent Decarbonize Software 2023 event. The GSF has announced its Impact Framework during the event that had taken place in November, and together with Chris, our guests discuss the realities of (and dreams for) the state of green software in this recap of Decarb 2023.

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Sophie Trinder:
We've also had some big tech companies adopting the Carbon Aware SDK, which has been great, including Microsoft and NTT Data to shift some of those high workloads, like training machine learning models to a different time in the day, potentially even a different location. So yeah, it was really great to see the Carbon Aware SDK being talked about at Decarb. 

Asim Hussain: Hello and welcome to Environment Variables, brought to you by the Green Software Foundation. In each episode we discuss the latest news and events surrounding green software. On our show you can expect candid conversations with top experts in their field who have a passion for how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of software. I'm your host Asim Hussain.

Chris Skipper: Welcome to this episode of Environment Variables. I'm your host, Chris Skipper. And in this episode, we will be doing a recap of the recent Decarbonize Software 2023 event with the Green Software Foundation's Community Project Manager, Adam Jackson, and Sophie Trinder, Senior Technical Project Manager and Relative New Face at the GESF. Hello, Adam and Sophie, and welcome to Environment Variables.

Adam Jackson: Hi Chris, it's great to be back.

Sophie Trinder: Hi, Chris.

Chris Skipper: Great. So before we dive into the meat of this podcast, for our listeners who don't know you, could you please introduce yourself? And let's start with Adam, seeing as you are a well-seasoned veteran now of environment variables.

Adam Jackson: So I'm Adam Jackson, and I'm the Community and Tech Culture Lead at the Green Software Foundation. And once again, it's, I'm very excited to be here. I look after our community working group, and also many of our projects and programs, including our meetup program, Green Software Champions, and our recent Decarbonize Software event. Plus in 2024, I'll be leading the efforts on our Carbon Hack and our GSF Summit.

Chris Skipper: Great. Thank you. And Sophie?

Sophie Trinder: Yes. Hi, I'm Sophie Trinder. I'm the Senior Technical Project Manager at the Green Software Foundation. Excited to be here. Recently, I've been focusing on the tooling pillar of the Green Software Foundation's three pillar strategy, known as the Theory of Change. Alongside tooling, we also have knowledge and tech culture.

Like I say, I've been focusing on the tooling and driving forward the open source projects that sit under the umbrella of the open source working group. This includes tools for measurement, like our Impact Framework, and also tools for reduction, like our Carbon Aware SDK.

Chris Skipper: Awesome. Thank you, Sophie. And how long have you been in the GSF now? When did you join?

Sophie Trinder: Just over a month ago, 

Chris Skipper: Just over a month ago. Great. Great. Cool. So exciting things to come. And for those of you who don't know me, my name is Chris Skipper. You've probably heard my voice before on this podcast. I am the producer of Environment Variables. And recently I found out that Environment Variables is the top podcast for 55 amazing listeners on Spotify, thanks to Spotify Wrapped. Just a note that spotify is not the only platform that environment variables can be consumed on. And if you want to listen to it directly from the source, please go to podcast.greensoftware.foundation to listen there. Um, anyway, so, uh, I feel like I've, I've spoken enough about that before we dive into the actual topic of today's podcast, which is the debrief, uh, which will be the title of this episode. Just to remind everyone, everything that we talk about in the show will be linked in the show notes. So, to kick us off, I have a few questions about Decarb 2023, seeing as I wasn't there. We'll be going in sort of a, uh, tit for tat. That's a bit, that's a wrong phrase. I'll be asking one question to each of you at a time, which we, we've kind, you've kindly delegated out to each other. So my first question is, Decarbonize Software 2023 was an overwhelming success in the eyes of the Green Software Foundation. Let's start with some statistics, seeing as we've been talking about statistics, just in my little intro there. How many people attended and how many talks were there? Did it meet the goals of the GSF's intentions with this event? Adam?

Adam Jackson: Yeah. So, uh, well first of all, Chris, no, no pressure that you weren't there live because it was the middle of the night for you. And I wanna start by telling everyone that it is available on demand if you haven't watched it already, at decarb.greensoftware.foundation. But yeah, let's jump into the numbers.

So we actually had five community talks and we had three talks from the GSF itself, announcing new programs. And yeah, we had, I think we had a really brilliant event. We had over 2, 500 viewers and almost 400 live questions and comments. And it wasn't all just "hi from London" and stuff like that. It was actually, there were some really great and deep questions.

Also some challenging questions as well, pushing the boundaries. So it's not just the quantity, it's also the quality of those questions that really stood through. But what's really important to me is that we didn't just connect with folks who are already members of the GSF, but actually brought in lots of new folks from the community. And they're the folks who'll tell their friends and colleagues about green software, as well as getting involved in our open source projects in the future. So, yeah, excited about how we did number-wise, but also excited about the type of people that we met along the way.

Chris Skipper: Wow, amazing. So yeah, I didn't expect to hear that statistic of that many questions. That's really great. And hopefully I know that a few of those questions were answered live on stream. Obviously there wasn't time to answer all of them, but hopefully there will be a source for people to go to. I know there's talk of there being a document or an article to do with the questions. 

Adam Jackson: Yeah.

I think it's, I think it's actually published.

And we'll put that in, we'll put that in the notes. But there's an article where we, we pick up on some of the main question themes. Yeah, it's tricky, isn't it? You want to get in all of these different community stories, and we were really careful to get a good balance of different stories from across Green Software. And then we had five minutes for Q& A, and really you can only ever get into two or three questions. And Sophie and Namrata and I were there in the background trying to answer as many questions as we could in the, in the live chat and Asim was there as well. But yeah, we thought it was best to actually look at what, what the main themes were and try and answer as many of those on demand. And, and it's actually also given us some ideas as to the sort of video content we want to create in the future and probably might even spawn a couple of Environment Variables episodes as well.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, well, I was just going to say, if there are any unanswered or burning questions that haven't been answered, perhaps we can rope Asim into answering some on this podcast. So that would be cool. Anyway, let's move on. Sophie, so can you share a standout moment or a particularly surprising insight from decarbonized software 2023 that really stuck with you?

Sophie Trinder: It's so hard to pick just one. But yes, if I have to, one interesting insight that stuck with me and actually that gives me optimism is from a talk given by Diana Ditrimova, managing director and partner at BCGX and Charlotte Degot, CEO, and founder at CO2 AI. So to give a little context for those who may not have joined us at our Decarb event.

Diana and Charlotte shared some of the key findings from their joint carbon emissions report, which is called 'Why Some Companies Are Ahead in the Race to Net Zero.' So, this report is a survey incorporating feedback from 1, 850 organizations across 23 countries. And they estimate that all of the sort of organizations represents about 40 percent of global emissions.

So, we're looking at a good representation of global emissions here. And one interesting insight for me that stood out was that 40 percent of those surveyed estimated an annual financial benefit of at least $100 million for meeting emissions reduction targets. And so often at the GSF we hear the question, "what's the business advantage associated with making greener choices when building software?"

And I think that this stat, it gives a really interesting insight that helps form that answer.

Chris Skipper: That's, yeah, it's interesting that you mentioned that talk in particular. I'm hoping to get them together for an episode of Environment Variables to talk about that in particular, that study, that that's incredible, that, that reach that they have of 40%, yeah, of, yeah, I don't think, I think that's the one thing that that's been covered a lot on, at least on Environment Variables and my engagement with the Green Software Foundation is just having the sheer amount of data is sometimes it was probably the biggest issue out there with any sort of measurement to do with carbon emissions. So, and software in particular, if you haven't seen the Decarb 2023 video, you should go back and check that talk. Cause I think it's only about 10, 15 minutes long. So it won't take a lot of time out of your day if you want to have a look at it.


Adam Jackson: Yeah, we're really hoping to actually make all of that content available in bite sized chunks as well. So, so that people can find that on demand. And one thing I like as well, just to add on what Sophie said, is that Um, that talk was beyond just green software itself, but it was also "how can you use software to further sustainable outcomes?" So that's, that's another thing that we don't directly cover every day at the Green Software Foundation, but a lot of our members and our community are really interested in.

Chris Skipper: Yeah. And it goes to show also the diversity of just how big the community has become in the last sort of two years, just because of the existence of the Green Software Foundation, it's attracted people outside of the software industry, which is fantastic, and I'm sure this probably echoes what Adam is fighting for is we want people from all walks of life to join the cause and come and talk and just increase the dialogue around it.

So that's fantastic. Anyway, so let's move on. I'll pitch this question to you, Adam, given the emphasis on measurement at Decarb 2023, what's one common misconception about carbon emissions measurement in software that was debunked or clarified during the event?

Adam Jackson: It's a really good question, Chris. It's actually quite a challenging question as well. So one of the biggest misconceptions that I see is that it's from people that are coming new to the GSF, is that it's been easy to do measurement at all. It really isn't. Measurement isn't easy today. It's about to get easier.

We're definitely on a journey, but it's important to look at the very short history of measurement. What we have today is some amazing standards, such as the Software Carbon Intensity or SCI standard, which, which actually has been submitted to ISO. Hopefully we'll get an approval and see that in the catalog very soon. But we're still super early days. And we're also going to be talking about, um, some of the, some of the key elements in producing tools that can actually do the measurement for us. It's been very manual working out. We'll see spreadsheets or a few people we've seen have implemented some dashboards. I saw a really great talk from Amadeus, which is one of our GSF members, over the summer at a conference in Berlin, and they'd done some really, really great dashboards, but it had all been very much custom work for them to get to that stage. And yeah, what is great to see is, particularly this year, we're actually seeing a lot of effort put in to measurement and visualization. And if I bring it back to the Decarb event, we did see a wonderful talk from Yvette and Johann. They're from CODE University in Berlin, and they've been building a measurement project. It's really focused on measuring consumption of energy. So if we think about the SCI equation, for anyone that's familiar with that, is the letter E in the equation. If you don't know what the equation is, take the Green Software Practitioner training and it shows you all of that. Anyway, these folks from Berlin, they've actually implemented some visualization. To that energy measurement and it was really great to see because visualization is hard and not everyone agrees on it. And there was a lot of, there's a lot of chats during the event on visualization as well. So, but the important thing is we'll need to see folks like Yvette and Johann. And they'll have to show us what we can do with that visualization. And it's also going to help us build out the capabilities of things like the new Impact Framework, extending it, show us what's going on as well.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, yeah. I just mentioned that data was hard to come by, but yeah, measurement, itself, obviously, is a big challenge. And if you are interested more in the measurement and the struggles of measurement, we actually have a previous episode of Environment Variables with Srini Rakhunathan and Navveen Balani with Asim talking about all the other attempts that have been made at measuring carbon emissions of software prior to the SCI.

So that's a really fascinating episode if you are interested in that. And yeah, it's great that you mentioned visualization as well. I know you love a dashboard, Adam. So that's something you mentioned last time you were on the pod. So I'm just going to bring that up again.

Adam Jackson: Yeah. Actually, one interesting thing is you measure, you mentioned data. Obviously, you need data in order to be able to measure. But also the act of measuring puts pressure on others to produce data. And we do hear, and I'm not going to single out any GSF member, but we do hear, "Ooh, why doesn't company X provide this data?"

And actually a lot of the time it's because people haven't asked for it yet, or people haven't shown that they have a need for that data. So, so I really do truly believe that the more we measure, the more data sources will become available.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, absolutely. Good point. Cool. Okay. Switching back over to Sophie in this game of question tennis. The next question I have is, we just mentioned the Impact Framework and that was obviously the big surprise that was the big mention that was going to happen at this year's Decarb 2023. So for our listeners who don't know what it is, Sophie, do you mind elaborating, please?

Sophie Trinder: Yeah, of course. So, yes, you're right, it was the big unveiling of the Impact Framework in our introduction at Decarb this year. So, the Impact Framework is one of the Green Software Foundation's open source projects. We have been working on it for almost a year now, but it's still in incubation, which is one of the project life-cycle stages.

And that basically means it's still evolving, it's still in its explorative stage. But we did manage to do an alpha release in November ahead of Decarb, which is where we introduced it, and showcased it through a live demo of the tool. So the framework itself is an extension of that software carbon intensity standard, the SCI, that Adam just mentioned.

So just to dig a little bit more into what that covers, the SCI is this equation, which is the energy consumption times the emissions factors plus embodied carbon over a functional rate. So this is the what we should be measuring when considering negative environmental impacts of software. And then the Impact Framework takes that equation and provides a tool into how we can measure that impact.

So if we think about some modern applications, they're composed of many smaller pieces of software, which we call components, running on many different environments. For example, private cloud, public cloud, bare metal, we've got mobile, laptops, desktops. Every environment requires a different model for measurement.

So the Impact Framework provides a framework for running all these different models using model plugins to calculate the output of impact through that SEI equation. So right now at the, the GSF, we've got a standard library of models and a repository of community models, and we envision a future where the number of models just keeps expanding out into the thousands to cover all those different environments.

So it is an open-source project, like I just mentioned we're welcoming contributions in fact, our hackathon, which is happening next February, is Impact Framework focused. So that's where we're hoping to see lots more of these models get made. The opportunities is endless that we see in the ways that we'll be able to start improving the measurement of the negative environmental impacts of software.

Chris Skipper: Great. Yeah, that's amazing. And yeah, I love the community focus of it. I think that we, we talked about the importance of open source in general, and I think everything that the GSF has done has been open source. So the possibilities are endless when we all join in and, and I think the hackathon, which we'll talk about a bit later in this podcast as well, next year is going to be phenomenal, especially when there's a bit of incentive behind it. So yeah, it'll be really interesting to see what comes from that. Moving on, let's talk a bit about the Practitioners course, the Green Software Foundation's Practitioners course, which you mentioned, Adam. This, obviously that's where you can learn more about the SCI, but it's trained over 50, 000 participants in less than a year, which was something huge that was announced also at Decarb 2023. What do you think is driving the surge in interest and how can more professionals be encouraged to participate?

Adam Jackson: Yeah, I've just literally opened the stats. 55, 000 now, so yeah, doing really well. We need another 5, 000 people to do that in the month of December, so we end on a nice round number. And actually, we know that some more people have enrolled as well, so another good thing. One of the cool things we've certainly got some people that have started the training and hopefully they'll, they'll come back to it as well.

But, uh, yeah, it's interesting. If we think about, uh, Chris's talk, that's, uh, another Chris, Chris Howard from EPAM. EPAM is a GSF member. So his talk at Decarb really showed us how important the knowledge, this knowledge is. And why it's so important for both individuals and also organizations. So I've no doubt that a lot of people do take the practitioner course because they're concerned about what has happened, happening to the planet. And they're worried that we're experiencing our hottest year ever, which was just announced at COP, and they're concerned that software is between 4 and 5 percent of global carbon emissions, and that's twice that of air travel. But I think there's something more than just an individual concern. I think that concern is becoming more than something that people worry about, or campaign about and actually, it's starting to turn into something that's also becoming a business driver in a way that, a way of individuals distinguishing themselves in the job market, so to speak. So for companies like EPAM, which is a consultancy, they don't just want to develop their staff. They also see the difference it makes to the organization, um, when winning a customer.

Because their customers are demanding green solutions. Um, and it's also, of course, it's a massive motivator for their employees. You know, they've a fantastic internal community who want to learn these things. But yeah, I'm not surprised we've seen this growth. My, my colleague, Russ, who leads our knowledge efforts at the GSF, he says it's just the beginning, and I think we will really continue to see us moving from just being worried about the environment to actually having people that really want to do something, they really want to take action, learn more about it, and then really measure and reduce.

So, yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing six figures on number of people taking that course, hopefully at some point in the early months of 2024, and I think we'll continue to see both that individual and that organizational pressure to learn and then be able to take action.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, amazing. Yeah, it's gone up to four to five percent already, the emissions of software. 

Adam Jackson: Yeah, yeah, That's right. That's actually a stat that we, that we announced during our State of Green Software report back in May 2023. Yeah, it's, I think it's quite startling to a lot of folks because we see, I think most people think it's in the sort of 2%, 2 - 3 percent band, but we actually did a lot of research and found that it was actually quite a bit higher. And I would certainly recommend people go to stateof.greensoftware.foundation to read the report for themselves. But just a reason that it's higher than people think is because a lot of people just think about the data center or the device, but actually you've got data center, you've got all of that network infrastructure in between, and you've got the device. And I can't remember the exact numbers, but actually I think you can even sometimes think of them, depends on the application, but sometimes it can even be a third each. So yeah, reducing, for example, reducing network bandwidth is a good way of decarbonizing software as well. And people never think of that. So check out that report if you want to hear a bit more. Yeah,

Chris Skipper: Yeah. Cause I think it was just probably this time last year that it was 2%, which is quite, yeah, I think we announced that on the podcast, so that's quite, yeah, really scary, but yeah, and also, yeah, sorry to focus on more positive things and the growth of the green software practitioner courses intake or the amount of people that have gone through it, I think. That number is really impressive, firstly, and then secondly, just that more people are going to be using it as a business decision, that's something you pointed out, I think is something that I think might be a great way of people to think about their approach to green software as a whole, because whether you like it or not, businesses are going to have to adapt.

And yeah, so really great that the GSF is leading the way in providing qualification for people, consultants in particular, that's a huge industry consultancy, so yeah, and obviously we have consultancies that are part of the GSF. I think Accenture, am I right in saying that?

Adam Jackson: We've got a few, and yes, yes, so, other consultancies do exist as well for folks, but yeah, if you want to see who, see the, the big list, our membership's grown massively this year, by the way, so just go onto our website if you want to find out who, who is contributing as a member, and that those members really help us set our standards and they're the ones that are very heavily involved in the day to day running of the foundation. And yeah, consultancy is a big part of that. We also have a lot of representation from the, the cloud and tech companies themselves, but also industry, a lot of, banking in there right now, a lot of regulated industries in particular.

Chris Skipper: Yeah. Yeah. Great. So obviously we just talked about the frightening statistics of the amount of emissions that are being created by the use of software. I think part of that is down to the, the rise of AI and the use of LLMs. ChatGPT, et cetera. And so with that in mind, Sophie, I'm going to ask you a question a bit about that.

The relationship between responsible AI and environmental sustainability was a hot topic at Decarb 2023. What were some enlightening points brought up by Tammy McClellan and Jesse Mccrosky in their fireside chat as part of the event?

Sophie Trinder: Yeah, thank you. It definitely was one of the hot topics of the Decarb event. And so many enlightening points were brought up by Tammy and Jesse, but one particular point that stood out, which actually we've touched on already, is that transparency of data and information is key. We touched on this when we were talking about measurement, weren't we?

We were saying the more we measure and we request measurement, the more likely people are going to be to giving us the data we need in order to measure. So Jesse was touching on that transparency of that data. So we need the full picture on emissions of AI systems. And that's not just looking at open source code, but full transparency of what the emissions of AI systems are.

And he was talking about how In order for software developers to make sustainable choices on whether to integrate AI into their products or how to develop the type of AI that they're developing, they need the full picture. Similarly, he touched on how policy makers need that in order to make good regulation and policy on AI.

But also for us as consumers, how we can make sustainable choices when using AI. I like the term, be a conscious consumer. But for us to be conscious consumers, we need the knowledge in order to be conscious. So we need that transparency of data. And Jesse painted this hypothetical picture. What if there was a carbon counter or there was a water gallons clock at the top of ChatGPT?

Would you use it differently? Would you only use it when it was essential? Maybe you would write a shorter prompt. Would you ask it to write its answers briefer? Similarly, he painted another picture where, what if a software developer's screen went red? If the developer made a decision that, yeah, might make them save some time, might make them slightly more efficient, but what if it came with a huge carbon cost?

So their screen went bright red when there was a carbon cost associated with the code that they were writing. I think it was just a really interesting way to start thinking about being more transparent with that data so that we can be more conscious with our decision-making.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, absolutely. And there's also a gap in the market there for perhaps a browser plugin or something that would really inform day-to-day users, because I know people have, well, I've spoken to people that have been using ChatGPT as if it were Google and that's quite worrying, you know, so, um, you know, we've, there's an episode of environment variables where we speak about the environmental impact of AI and, um, just the sheer amount of water that it uses is quite incredible.

So those ideas. That was spoken about during Decarb 2023 were really great. And I think maybe we'll see some of that as a springboard for what will happen in Carbon Hack 2024. 

Sophie Trinder: Yeah, definitely. We've seen it in certain other industries when you're buying a flight and you see the little green label now on certain flights where they say if you buy this flight ticket it's going to be better for the planet in terms of emissions. Maybe it's It's going to be a fuller aeroplane, those sorts of decisions, it's, it would be great to see some of those, like you say, user interface platforms where we'll be able to start helping people make those more environmentally conscious decisions when it comes to software too.

Chris Skipper: Yeah. And I think that's one of the biggest challenges facing organizations right now, um, at Decarb 2023, there were a lot of challenges that were raised. Um, speaking of which, what's your take on the biggest challenge organizations face when embracing green software right now, Adam, and how do you think it can be overcome?

Adam Jackson: Yeah, so, well, first of all, we've talked a lot about measurement already, and I do think that measurement is probably the biggest challenge for us all right now, but I want to look at a different challenge that some, that organizations specifically have embracing green software. And I touched on this a little with the EPAM example, but in one of the other organizations we had on the Decarb event was Siemens, and Siemens, they're a brand new steering, steering member of the GSF, they joined in the last few months, but their journey with a sustainable software goes way further back than that. They've spent a long time building sustainability into their entire software lifecycle. And that's what their talk was about. And I think actually that, beyond the knowledge, is the hardest part. Often, I often tell folks when they ask me what green software actually is, that there's a lot of parallels with well-crafted software. So well-crafted software, like green software, focuses on built-in quality throughout the complete software lifecycle. So architecture, development, operations, getting all of the stakeholders together to take responsibility. And we need the same thing for green software. So at the GSF, we often talk about software practitioners, and this is a broad term that goes beyond developers alone.

It includes product managers, program managers, designers, UX, testers, IT operations. And what takes the time, and GSF does have some materials that can help here, is developing the best practice, the processes, and the learnings that bring all of these people together into a really holistic software lifecycle, and I think that's why we're really keen to get organizations to hear and listen to others, even if they're competitors, what's the best practice that we can all share that's gonna deliver green outcomes. And then we also have some materials inside the GSF, such as our Patterns Catalog, which is like a set of best practices and people can use that to, to go beyond just the learning and start thinking about how to integrate it into their organization. So yeah, a bit of a long answer. It's, it's a bit of an abstract challenge as well, and it's different for every organization, but really think, yeah, thinking about how, if we think of the Learn, Measure, Reduce, that reduce bit, it can be, sometimes it can be simple for a single product or a single workload, but when you're trying to think about how to get your whole organization on that journey, that takes a bit longer.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, amazing. And also, I think it highlights, there's been an immense amount of growth in the last year, just in terms of the amount of news and the amount of events that are happening around green software, which is fantastic. So Sophie, with that in mind, what are some of the exciting innovations or projects that are making a significant impact that were highlighted at Decarbonize Software 2023?

Sophie Trinder: Thank you. Yeah. So another project that was highlighted at Decarb that's been having a significant impact is another one of our open source projects I mentioned earlier called the Carbon Aware SDK. So we had two of our principal contributors come and talk at Decarb about the SDK. That was Dan Benitah and Vaughan Knight.

They gave a fascinating talk into some of the use cases of adopters of the SDK. So for a bit of context for anyone who is new to the Carbon Aware SDK, but also to Carbon Awareness, that basically means being aware of the carbon intensity of the electricity on the grid and doing more when and where the electricity is cleaner.

So less carbon intense, i. e. generated by renewable resources, and doing less when and where the electricity is dirtier. So the Carbon Aware SDK is a web API and command line interface tool that helps assist in building carbon-aware software by providing the intelligence of knowing when and where the electricity is cleanest.

So you don't need to do all of that work for yourself. There's a tool out there already that can help, help you work out when and where would be best or cleanest for your consumption. And what was really interesting at Decarb, Dan showed us how he's been adopting the SDK himself at home to successfully reduce his impact by 30%.

So, he used the Carbon Aware SDK to simulate different hypothetical scenarios. So, for example, he was looking at his big consumption uses, his dishwasher, tumble dryer, those sorts of things, washing machine. And he used the SDK to, to simulate Different scenarios of if he was to shift his consumption, so that's the kind of the when part of the when and where of carbon awareness, when you consume, he was, yeah, looking at different scenarios and he learned that if he time shifted by seven hours to time where his electricity was cleaner, then a 7 hour shift would be best.

So that's what he did in order to reduce his impact by 30%. So it just shows that with the right data, like we were talking before, with the transparency of that data, we've all got the potential to make some significant impacts in our reduction of consumption. And so whilst Dan shared this example of carbon awareness in the home, and the small things do add up, we've also had some big tech companies adopting the Carbon Aware SDK, which has been great, including Microsoft and NTT Data, for example, like you mentioned earlier, to shift some of those high workloads like training machine learning models to a different time in the day, potentially even a different location. That was the where part of Carbon Awareness, when and where, time and location. So yeah, it was really great to see the Carbon Aware SDK being talked about at Decarb.

It is still growing. We're just about to do a version 1. 2 release in a couple of weeks. But again, it's all open source, open to contribution. And definitely would recommend people taking a look and seeing if you could simulate different hypothetical scenarios for your own workloads. Be that at home or at work.

Chris Skipper: Awesome. Yeah. I haven't heard that story about Dan using it in his home. That's fantastic. I know we spoke a little bit about how people can make small changes in their own life to do with green, with green software and just being more environmentally friendly as a whole the last time Adam was on the podcast.

But with that in mind, Adam, can you tell us a little bit more about how people can use the SDK in their personal life to become more carbon aware?

Adam Jackson: Uh, yeah, actually, Sophie's already given a really good overview and, and Sophie's quite an expert on, on energy. So I've had some really interesting chats with her already, but, but yeah, the, the added dimension for me, if you, if you actually watch that final session from Decarb, you probably can't help but see how excited I was personally to hear from, from Dan and Vaughan talk about carbon awareness to hear in their own homes. So I have a home assistant set up at home. So it's a Raspberry Pi 4 with the Home Assistant software on and that's open source and that piece of kit talks to all of the, all the smart home, all the, all the devices in my house. And we're getting better and better. I feel like every time I open Home Assistant, I can connect to more data sources in my own home. And that makes me really excited as to how I can not just think about the energy, but also everything that's going on in my house. So, yeah, we touched on, upon how the SDK could be used, and Dan is actually writing a blog post right now about how to integrate Carbon Aware SDK into home assistant setup without doing lots of custom code. And I was going to put a bit of pressure on him because he hasn't finished his blog post yet. So hopefully by the time this podcast comes out, it'll be done or soon after and we'll try and get that linked. So, yeah, I'm excited about this because not only do I want to, I want to understand more about my own carbon impact, but I want to combine that with the data that all of the devices in my house provide. And I want to combine that with my, my battery and my solar setup and think about the dimensions, such as having an electric vehicle. So looking at how I can really balance and optimize my use of electricity. And so, sadly, I live in a, in quite a high-carbon area. So if you touched upon the, the location being a dimension, I can't change where my house is sadly, but the intensity does, the carbon intensity does vary dramatically at different times of the day. So I'm hoping I can take something from my work life and make that work for me at home as well. So you definitely watch that, that short video as well from the end of Decarb about, about Carbon Aware SDK. And yeah, you'll see some of the discussions I had were along these lines as well.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, that's incredible. I only learned about a Raspberry Pis through this podcast and yeah, just the use of it to do that is, is a great use of a Raspberry Pi firstly, but then secondly, also just the application from your, in your personal life like that. Yeah, it's great. It's amazing. I think more people should try and do that sort of thing.

I wish I had more smart home devices. I don't have any, I don't think so.

Adam Jackson: Don't get it. Don't fall down the rabbit hole, Chris. This is never ending. My, my toothbrush can talk to it. It's, it's crazy, but it's testament to what the open source community does when you let them get excited about something, you see something like Home Assistant. And this is why I'm excited about Impact Framework as well, because I'm hoping we'll see the same passion. Being able, being able to talk to maybe not my toothbrush, but certainly things in the cloud, network infrastructure, and the devices that are really creating that carbon impact in our life. And see, let's see what the, what that open source community will come up with over the next few months.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, exciting stuff. We're going to keep, at least on the podcast, we're going to keep track of the work that's being done with the Impact Framework. So that's it for our episode regarding the decarbonized software at 2023 event. Just before we go, I've got two quick questions for you guys. I'm sure Adam, you could probably answer these. If people want to find out more about the rundown of what really happened at decarbonized software, where should they go?

Adam Jackson: Yep. That's a, an easy one. It is decarb.greensoftware.foundation. And we'll make sure we put that link in the show notes.

Chris Skipper: Yeah, absolutely. Link will be down in the show notes. And the next thing is what's the next big event for the GSF?

Sophie Trinder: So up next for the GSF, we've got a hackathon in February 2024. So definitely watch this space and watch our newsletter. That hackathon is all going to be centred on Impact Framework. We're really hoping to see not just carbon emissions being recorded, but also all negative environmental impacts like water, waste.

We've said before, the opportunities are endless with measurement.

Chris Skipper: Amazing. And yeah, looking forward to that and there'll be a pretty big announcement about that hopefully sometime soon. We've come to the end of our podcast episode and all that's left for me to say is thank you so much, Adam and Sophie. That was really great. I personally have learned so much. And, um, if you do want to watch, this is another thing about, um, Decarb 2023.

If you do want to watch it, please head over to our YouTube channel, where you can check out the talks that we mentioned in this podcast. So yet again, thanks for your contribution guys, and we really appreciate you coming on to Environment Variables.

Adam Jackson: Thanks, Chris. Yeah, it was great to come on and talk about the Decarb event and hopefully you'll have me on again very soon.

Sophie Trinder: Yes, thanks Chris. Thanks for having me.

Chris Skipper: Thanks very much, Sophie. Yes. Great. So that's all for this episode of Environment Variables. All the resources for this episode are in the show description below, and you can visit podcast.greensoftware.foundation to listen to more episodes of Environment Variables. See you all in the next episode. Bye for now.

Adam Jackson: Bye.

Sophie Trinder: Bye!

Asim Hussain: Hey everyone, thanks for listening. Just a reminder to follow Environment Variables on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please, do leave a rating and review if you like what we're doing. It helps other people discover the show, and of course, we want more listeners. To find out more about the Green Software Foundation, please visit greensoftware.foundation. Thanks again, and see you in the next episode.