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The green 2020: Impact of smartphones on the environment in present and future



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The Green 2020: Impact of Smartphones on the
Environment in Present and Future
Saman Zahoor
Department of Computer Science
COMSATS Institute of Information technology,
Islamabad, Pakistan.
Munam Ali Shah
Department of Computer Science
COMSATS Institute of Information technology,
Islamabad, Pakistan.
Abdul Wahid
COMSATS Institute of Information technology,
Islamabad, Pakistan.
Abstract— Green computing is the most debatable
topic in entire world as mobile devices such as personal
digital assistance, laptops and smartphones are the main
source of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide,
greenhouse gases etc. These emissions are widely
disturbing the ecosystem and cause of environmental
damages. This paper discusses the state of the art on
tools, technologies and trends to make smartphones
green. The objective is to analyze the current usage
patterns of the smart phones for the emission of
greenhouse gases (GHG). Based on our analysis, we
forecast the future and present our findings for the
green world in 2020.
Keywords— Green IT; Green Computing; Environment;
Eco-friendly Devices; GHGs.
I. Introduction
Green computing is related to the environmentally
sustainable computing or IT. It contains all of the activities
and efforts that comprise ecologically friendly technologies
and techniques into the entire lifecycle of ICT [1] . It is
mainly referred to as the practice and study of
manufacturing and using the computers and servers as well
as the disposing of it, including printers, monitors and
storage devices, etc. so that it impacts at its minimal level.
These devices are the cause of emissions of different
hazardous gases i.e. carbon dioxide, methane and other
gases. These gases destroy the environment and damage
global climate. Energy efficiency is important factor for
future ICT (Information and Communication Technologies),
because of the availability and increasing cost of the energy.
Due to increasing cost of energy and the need to decrease
the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, there is significant
raise in the demand of energy efficient devices or
technologies that reduce overall consumption of energy
computation, communications and storage. In [2], main
objective is reduction in carbon emission and achieve
energy efficiency.
In computing many vendors and manufacturers are
continuously working, for designing energy efficient IT
devices, reducing the hazardous material usage and supports
the recyclability of the paper and digital devices. The
earliest green IT or computing concept came into being in
1992, when the EPA (environmental protection agency)
promote efficiency in all type of hardwares and launched it
as an energy star program. Today many organizations or
researchers work on green computing to keep our homeland
green, safe and secure from GHGs. Green ICT (Information
and Communication Technologies) and its services provide
opportunities to decrease carbon footprints and mitigate
emission of carbon through its services and products. Major
categories of Green IT benefits are: cost reduction benefit
and environmental benefit [3] . The initiative in green IT
implementation is basically for two reasons: i) reduction in
energy consumption; and ii) reduction in cooling cost of
A gas which traps heat in the aerosphere is called GHGs.
Hazardous gases are a serious issue today; probably the
most alarming threat to our planet at the present time is
GHGs. These hazardous gases destroy our planet, basically
these gases are occurring naturally, but humans increase
their concentration. According to different sources, the
gases are tuned to absorb energy at the infrared wavelengths
[4], these gas molecules excite, warming the aerosphere.
When it excited energy re-emitted again, but some is back to
the earth to warm it still more and some of this is lost to
space. Basically the GHGs work to raise temperature at the
A. Carbon Dioxide Emission:
Carbon dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas which is
emitted by the human activities. In 2013, it is accounted that
82% of GHGs emissions are done from human actions.
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Carbon naturally exists in aerosphere as the part of the
Earth's carbon cycle (the regular circulation of carbon
among the aerosphere is soil, plants, animals and oceans) [5]
. The carbon cycle are modified by human actions, both by
influencing the ability of regular sinks and by increasing
more ܿ݋
to the aerosphere [6] , to remove carbon from the
environment increase forests. Furthermore,
is come
from a variety of regular sources, human-related emissions
are responsible for the increase that has occurred in the
atmosphere since the industrial revolution [7] . Major
sources of
emissions are described below:
¾ Electricity
¾ Transportation
¾ Industry
B. Methane Emission:
Methane is the 2nd most common GHGs emission
due to human activities and wetlands. Methane is emitted by
the raising of livestock and leakage from natural gas system.
Chemical reaction in atmosphere and natural processes in
soil reduce methane in the atmosphere. Major sources of the
methane gases are the
¾Waste from homes and business
C. Nitrous Oxide Emission:
The increasing amount of ܰ
ܱin the atmosphere is due to
fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, and agriculture
and wastewater management. ܰ
ܱ are mainly caused by the
oceans and soils. It is mainly produced on natural basis
rather than the other sources.
II.Reduce the environmental impact
The main objective of green computing is to analyze the
effect of mobile devices such as PDA (personal digital
assistance), laptops and mobile phones or smart phones on
environment. As we are facing the problem of greenhouse
affects, to reduce this environment should be less polluted,
the friendly environment products should be invented and
promotion of it should be increased in order to provide the
clean and friendly environment. Because of all such
situations all the firms and companies are moving towards
the green computing. Smart phones are one of the main
causes of emissions and here we want to see the impact of
these smartphones in present and future.
The below mentioned diagram shows that in
order to achieve the green environment smartphones or any
other IT devices must have three things i.e. use of less toxic
materials, less power consumption and use of recyclable
Figure 1. Green Smartphones
III. Backgroud of going Green
Smartphones play a vital role nowadays. We want to
achieve green environment while still using the
smartphones. Green IT focuses on the energy- efficient
equipment and eco-friendly hardware in terms of using,
designing, manufacturing and disposing [8] [9]. Information
technology or any other technology is causing
environmental encumbrance as a result of the desired
A. Reduction in energy:
This study [10], introduce many methods for the
improvement of the power consumption and performance of
the smartphones. As a source of metal, EEE(electric and
electronic equipment) recently focus on the effective
collection and recovery system of the specific feature for
the each EEE type [11]. In [12] the sensitive analysis
showed that it is recommended to use the solar energy when
the charger is connected. In the next generations of the
products more features and functionalities are expected due
to this energy consumption increases correspondingly [13] .
In [14], the cloud computing is not only waste of time but
effective use of this can help and reduce the carbon dioxide
emissions of ICT sector.
B. Toxic Material:
In study of [16], the main problem of environmental damage
is the electronic components, in [15] smart phones charger
is the cause of the environmental damage because its main
component is print wiring boards. The emissions of CO2
generated from the incineration of plastics there were almost
the same as they avoided by metals [17] . [18] Metals are
harmful for the environment. The mobile phones are the
more hazardous substances[19] . [20] Analyze PCBs from
the mobile phone are made up of 13 wt.% polymers, 63
wt.% metals and 24 wt.% ceramics [20] . [21] By using cu
(copper) in smart phones the eco toxicity in the water is
increases or we can say as occur.
C. Recycling:
Separating of disposable material to overcome the damage
of the environment from the hazardous substances is called
recycling. Recycling is a process in which component
materials are make as a useful material by some processing
[22]. The gain knowledge is carried out a preliminary
categorization of a broad kind of finish-of-life EEE and
sorted out their hard traits as secondary metallic assets as a
groundwork for the reconstruction of the programs for
assortment, sorting, and pre-processing towards extra
powerful reuse of metals in finish-of-existence EEE [11] .
In [23], china many of the mobile phones are reused in
the secondhand market that’s why the collection rate for
recycling is low; in the secondhand market the re-usage
does not affect the environment. In study of [24] and [25]
the results suggest that of the State of California First
Mobile Phone recycling (AB 2901) act, which is the only
place of the prohibition on the questionnaire and a
significant and positive effect on the recycling of mobile
phones. In the countries that are industrialized
approximately 15% of the mobile devices are returned for
the recycling [26] . In study of [27] the correct method of
the mobile use is defined, apply recycling correctly a global
urgent need of the mobile phone waste management. For
environmental benefits need of encouragement is very
necessary to draw the attention of the consumers what is
important for good management [28]. At the national level
less than 3% of the mobiles treated as one of the main EEE
recycling plants [29] . In china, the green box environmental
program and the green card recycling activities are the
examples of mobile phone waste recycling [30]. The author
analyzed in this study [31], the main reason for the mobile
phones replacement is the physical damage. In [32] author
described the cause of environmental damage is e-waste and
green IT is achieved by managing e-waste and this analysis
also gives a solution like print both sides of the paper in the
organizational level to reduce the hazardous substances.
D. Green metrics:
The research in [14] suggests the improvement in the
energy efficiency of mobile system networks. Some special
devices have been extended now a day for eco-friendly
environment so many energy efficient metrics have been
proposed hence called green metrics. There are basically
two types of metrics [33] , the facility metrics and the
equipment metrics. The equipment level metrics account for
less efficient rating of a single piece of the equipment of
mobile network with specific functionalities in micro
aspects, that is, the TEEER (Telecommunications
Equipment Energy Efficiency Rating) by the Verizon NEBS
Compliance [34] , the TEER (Telecommunications Energy
Efficiency Ratio) proposed by the ATIS (Alliance for
Telecommunications Industry Solutions) [34] the CCR
(Consumer Consumption Rating) [35] , the ECR (Energy
Consumption Rating) [33] etc.
The green rate can be determined by the energy
consumption of the network or by total power consumption
in any scenario [35] . In [36], at the run time of an
application extract what amount of energy consumes by
using clusters of green metrics.
An Environmental LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)
method is used for governing the analysis of smartphones
product life cycle, [37] it exceeded the traditional
production and manufacturing processes so that the
environmental and social and economic effects of the entire
life cycle of the product, including the consumption and
should be taken into account during use. In a mobile phone
functional unit LCA method is used for 3 years in
production. [12] LCA results showed that refurbishing
creates the highest environmental impacts of the three reuse
routes in every impact category except ODP (ozone
depletion potential). [38] The usage of electricity and the
CO2e emission is reduced by 20-55% and 18-74% in virtual
desktops (VD). Through this method environmental
effect/impact of recycling was analyzed [17] . [39] This
method is used to compare the environmental effect of the
various chargers, efficiency and the environmental impact
of the material selection. LCA software found that the
damage assessment of a charger is higher as compare to the
other parts of a smart phone [15] . In the comparison of the
feature phone of 2008 and the smartphone LCA result
shows an increment of 34 kg CO2e [40] . [41] It is more
consistent than PCs, for the mobile phone and TVs.
To reduce the smartphone emissions impact on environment
follow these points: choose greener material, change
contract length, cut down on packaging and accessories, and
design for disassembly and energy saving batteries [42]
A. Design for disassembly and repair: Many
smartphones are knowingly glued shut or have permanently
screws to stop customers from opening them. Designing
smartphones in such a way that is less complicated to take
apart, to restore or exchange components it would make an
immense change. This process will make it more price
effective to reuse and extract its parts and metals in second
hand market.
B. Choose greener materials: Similar to polylactic
acid plastic (PLA), which is made totally from corn starch
or glucose, it is renewable and biodegradable also;
recycled plastic and ordinary substances like bamboo or
use fewer substances.
C. Energy-saving batteries: The natural and organic
radical battery (ORB) utilizes no heavy metals that may be
dangerous to humans and charges battery in just 30
D. Cut down on packaging and accessories: Are all
these manuals, chargers and packaging substances
relatively needed? The 30 million new smart phones are
offered annually in which 70% of consumers have already
got suitable chargers. HTC, Nokia and Sony now promote
some units with simply USB leads alternatively of needless
chargers, as part of O2 (it was the primary community to
strengthen an eco-ranking in the UK in 2010 with
independent sustainability group discussion board for the
longer term.
IV. Statistical Analysis
In this section, we provide methods and their impact on
the media that is air. LCA is a method for conducting the
analysis of smartphones as discussed above. We analyzed
here by using of ICT devices what amount of
emitted. Table 1 shows the intensity of effect on the
Table 1. Carbon Emission Rates
To overcome the requirements of modern IT, substructure
has been enlarge which brings many issues related to the
green IT [44]. According to the reports information, Table
2 presents the emission rate of different smartphones [45] ,
[46]. Samsung galaxy S4 emission was certified by the
japan environmental management association for industry
(JEMAI). This table includes the iphone7plus, galaxy s4 and
Nokia Lumia 1520 [47] .
Table 3. shows the approximate sales of the above 3
mentioned mobile phones. By taking selling rate of 2014
and 2015 we calculate the growth rate of sellings in 2020
and if this rate considered as constant then what would be
the impact of such devices on the environment till the 2020.
This is shown in the Figure 3. This graph shows the trend of
the impact of the emissions from the smart phones till the
2020 on the environment.
Figure 3. The green world in 2020
V. Recommendations and conclusion:
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
CO2Emission of Smart phones
Apple Samsung Microsoft
Table 3: Selling rate of smartphones
Apple 201,4
Technique Main subject Total
is used for
ce of the
Effect of charger on life
2% [37]
Power consumption
In china power
consumption calculate.
Power consumption
During 3 years life time
Sony XperiaTM T total
Whole life cycle of
mobile phone emits.
Copper concentration in
printed circuit boards
from mobile phones.
For cooling devices
power consumption.
50% [14]
Achieve reduction
before 2020.
20% [32]
Achieve reduction in
40% [51]
Table 2 Emission of smartphones
No Smart
Transport Recycl
1. iPhone
78% 18% 3% 1% 67%
2. Galaxy
2% 18% 1% 0% 21.55
3. Nokia
74% 13% 9% 1% 37kg
The smartphones have shown the deepened impacts on
the environment as well as on the economy. The efficient
mobile application developing is a predominant goal for the
software builders as power usage can immediately affect the
usability of the IT devices [48] . This study analyzes the
emissions of smartphones and their impacts on the
environment till the 2020. As per the analyses it is shown
that the impact would be the higher in 2020 so there is need
of useful policies to optional practical training for friendly
environment. So that the target of green computing must be
achieve. For this purpose, there is need to manufactured the
less toxic materials used in the production of smart phones
so that these could be recycled. Less energy consumption
devices should be promoted to save the energy and make
these devices energy efficient. In order to reduce the
emissions such devices need to be manufactured which
releases less carbon dioxide. For this there is need of higher
research and development so that these could be achieving
till the 2020.
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... Saman Zahoor et al. [1] analyses the current usage pattern of various smartphones which are the main source of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and other greenhouse gases (GHG) by making use of state of the art technology, tools, data and based on the above analysis predicts the future trends compared to present usage statistics to create a more greener and environmentally sound world by the year 2020. Akun Chaurasya et al. [4] discusses different methods of reducing carbon footprints cause by cloud computing and also explains the ill effects of data centers and IT from the energy consumption and energy efficiency point of view. ...
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In recent days; the controlling systems are adapting and implementing irrigation in order to meet people requirement. The main reason behind this deficiency is that estimating required irrigation amount is a complex process and need consideration of several significant factors. This paper proposes an efficient automatic irrigation system based on computing various changes necessary in green house using wireless sensor network and using server and client web service for control and monitoring. Our model has two main factors which are reduces the power and controlling and monitoring over long distances. The results demonstrate that the control model is measure the sensing data and accurate tool for calculating values of adapted sensors as well as the self-control the output plugged devices. Also, results depict that our system has several advantageous characteristics, such as: ease of network management and control motors and valves. There are five sensors adapted in the proposed design system, soil moisture, humidity, temperature, CO2, and light sensor, each of these sensors has measure changes in environment inside the greenhouse. Since, irrigation always starts when depletion different ratios available of all sensors to operate the devices plugged for different operations.
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Cloud computing and Green computing are two most emergent areas in information communication technology (ICT) with immense applications in the entire globe. The future trends of ICT will be more towards cloud computing and green computing. Due to tremendous improvements in computer networks now the people prefer the Network-based computing instead of doing something in an in-house based computing. In any business sector daily business and individual computing are now migrating from individual hard drives to internet servers. The concept of cloud computing has dramatically changed the classical method of computation. To save space, time and money, the people perform computation in Internet server instead of doing computation on a desktop or a laptop. The main issue in cloud computing is to save resources, time, cost and duplication of same data. Instead of upgrading software in a standalone machine, one can use the software in the cloud in web and save energy and money. In the present paper the authors tried to analyze the energy consumption of Cloud Computing by studying the clouds maintained by certain organizations and observing the energy benefits that they derive. The authors have also made study by which the carbon footprint can be reduced through Green Cloud Computing.
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Background, aim, and scope During the last decades the electronics industry has undergone tremendous changes due to intense research leading to advanced technology development. Multiple LCA studies have been performed on the environmental implications of consumer electronics. The aim of this review is to assess the consistency between different LCA studies for desktop computers, laptop computers, mobile phones, and televisions. Materials and methods A literature study was conducted covering some key LCA contributions to the consumer electronics field. The focus is primarily on GWP100 efficiency in different life cycle phases, and secondarily on primary energy usage/electricity usages which are normalized per year to find inconsistencies. Results The LCIA GWP100 results for consumer electronics over the years suggest that most studies are of comparable quality, however, some studies are neither coherent nor transparent. Published LCAs for mobile phone and TV sets are consistent, whereas for laptop and desktop computers the studies occasionally give conflicting messages. Discussion The inconsistencies appear to be rooted in subjective choices and different system boundaries and life time, rather than lack of standardization. If included, the amounts of emissions of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) are crucial to the GWP100 in the various life cycle phases for a desktop using LCD screen. Another important observation is that the MEEuP Methodology report/tool underestimates the GWP100 of electronic component manufacturing processes. Conclusions Between 1997 and 2010, the ISO 14040/44 standards have ensured a rather consistent set of GWP100 results for the studied products. However, the lack of transparency for consumer electronics LCAs sometimes makes benchmarking difficult. It is nevertheless possible to compare new LCA calculations to existing studies. It is also possible to reveal which product studies are consistent with studies of sub–materials and sub–components. In most cases, the GWP100 results for consumer electronics are consistent. Based on the survey of published work, recycling and other end–of–life processes have a tiny share of the total GWP100 score for consumer electronics. Recommendations and perspectives LCA researchers should as a rule, if possible, make a historical survey of their technical system to establish trends, proportions and relations. Policy makers ought to ask for these surveys when using LCAs for decision support. This charter is necessary as to understand the reasonableness of the results. Additions to the ISO14040/44 LCA standardisation for mass–volume products would be worthwhile as a means of increasing the consistency.
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The main objective of this article is to characterize the reverse logistics system for mobile phones in Spain. The study includes the characterization of the different actors involved in the reverse logistics system and the description of the most common logistics practices in the sector. We will also propose alternative practices for managing this complex reverse logistics system and finally, we analyse the challenges of the current reverse logistics model. Some alternatives for the current model are location of reception points for end-of-use mobiles, the need to legislate the secondhand mobile phone market, and the location of the necessary recycling centres according to current legislation.
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Purpose Waste management for end-of-life (EoL) smartphones is a growing problem due to their high turnover rate and concentration of toxic chemicals. The versatility of modern smartphones presents an interesting alternative waste management strategy: repurposing. This paper investigates the environmental impact of smartphone repurposing as compared to traditional refurbishing using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Methods A case study of repurposing was conducted by creating a smartphone “app” that replicates the functionality of an in-car parking meter. The environmental impacts of this prototype were quantified using waste management LCA methodology. Studied systems included three waste management options: traditional refurbishment, repurposing using battery power, and repurposing using a portable solar charger. The functional unit was defined as the EoL management of a used smartphone. Consequential system expansion was employed to account for secondary functions provided; avoided impacts from displaced primary products were included. Impacts were calculated in five impact categories. Break-even displacement rates were calculated and sensitivity to standby power consumption were assessed. Results and discussion LCA results showed that refurbishing creates the highest environmental impacts of the three reuse routes in every impact category except ODP. High break-even displacement rates suggest that this finding is robust within a reasonable range of primary cell phone displacement. The repurposed smartphone in-car parking meter had lower impacts than the primary production parking meter. Impacts for battery-powered devices were dominated by use-phase charging electricity, whereas solar-power impacts were concentrated in manufacturing. Repurposed phones using battery power had lower impacts than those using solar power, however, standby power sensitivity analysis revealed that solar power is preferred if the battery charger is left plugged-in more than 20 % of the use period. Conclusions Our analysis concludes that repurposing represents an environmentally preferable EoL option to refurbishing for used smartphones. The results suggest two generalizable findings. First, primary product displacement is a major factor affecting whether any EoL strategy is environmentally beneficial. The benefit depends not only on what is displaced, but also on how much displacement occurs; in general, repurposing allows freedom to target reuse opportunities with high “displacement potential.” Second, the notion that solar power is preferable to batteries is not always correct; here, the rank-order is sensitive to assumptions about user behavior.
Green IS is one of the latest manifestations in the realm of sustainable business practices. The decisions surrounding Green IS implementation strategies, policies, and tools provide compelling challenges for organizations. As practitioners have been highly interested in this topic for a while (known as Green IT), there has also been a recent growing interest in Green IS within the IS academic community. In this chapter, we conduct a systematic and comprehensive review of both the practitioner and academic literatures surrounding Green IS. Specifically, our review includes articles published in the IS academic Senior Scholar's Basket of Journals, hybrid journals such as Communications of the ACM, IEEE Software, and MIS Quarterly Executive, and practitioner outlets such as CIO magazine and PC World. Through this review, we identify the main streams of Green IS-related studies that have been undertaken within both practice and academia, and offer a holistic picture of the current state of research/interest in Green IS. We then identify the overlaps and differences between the two sides (that is, academia and practice) in an attempt to unearth noticeable similarities/gaps between both perspectives. Finally, we not only identify the trends in Green IS research, but also provide academic scholars interested in Green IS more focused directions on the specific research questions to address with respect to Green IS. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012. All rights are reserved.
Purpose The possibilities for full life cycle assessment (LCA) of new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products are often limited, so simplification approaches are needed. The aim of this paper is to investigate possible simplifications in LCA of a mobile phone and to use the results to discuss the possibilities of LCA simplifications for ICT products in a broader sense. Another aim is to identify processes and data that are sensitive to different methodological choices and assumptions related to the environmental impacts of a mobile phone. Methods Different approaches to a reference LCA of a mobile phone was tested: (1) excluding environmental impact categories, (2) excluding life cycle stages/processes, (3) using secondary process data from generic databases, (4) using input-output data and (5) using a simple linear relationship between mass and embodied emissions. Results and discussion It was not possible to identify one or a few impact categories representative of all others. If several impact categories would be excluded, information would be lost. A precautionary approach of not excluding impact categories is therefore recommended since impacts from the different life cycle stages vary between impact categories. Regarding use of secondary data for an ICT product similar to that studied here, we recommend prioritising collection of primary (specific) data on energy use during production and use, key component data (primarily integrated circuits) and process-specific data regarding raw material acquisition of specific metals (e.g. gold) and air transport. If secondary data are used for important processes, the scaling is crucial. The use of input-output data can be a considerable simplification and is probably best used to avoid data gaps when more specific data are lacking. Conclusions Further studies are needed to provide for simplified LCAs for ICT products. In particular, the end-of-life treatment stage need to be further addressed, as it could not be investigated here for all simplifications due to data gaps.
Developing energy efficient mobile applications is an impor- tant goal for software developers as energy usage can di- rectly affect the usability of a mobile device. Unfortunately, developers lack guidance as to how to improve the energy efficiency of their implementation and which practices are most useful. In this paper we conducted a small-scale em- pirical evaluation of commonly suggested energy-saving and performance-enhancing coding practices. In the evaluation we evaluated the degree to which these practices were able to save energy as compared to their unoptimized code coun- terparts. Our results provide useful guidance for mobile app developers. In particular, we found that bundling network packets up to a certain size and using certain coding prac- tices for reading array length information, accessing class fields, and performing invocations all led to reduced energy consumption. However, other practices, such as limiting memory usage had a very minimal impact on energy us- age. These results serve to inform the developer community about specific coding practices that can help lower the over- all energy consumption and improve the usability of their applications.