Energy-efficient programming with Go and beyond

Greener Coding

Article from Issue 270/2023

Go has a reputation for producing energy-saving applications, but you still have to know what you are doing.

Applications use the processor in different ways, and those differences are sometimes reflected in the power bill. The programming language you choose has a significant influence on energy consumption. But developers still need to go the extra mile to leverage the language's capabilities.

At first glance, Go comes with everything you need for energy efficiency. It has a lean syntax, and smart Goroutines distribute parallel tasks efficiently to the processor cores, thus avoiding a bloated runtime environment that needs to manage complex class hierarchies or juggle classic threads. And the compiler translates the source code into a native and therefore fast program, which means the processor can go back to sleep sooner and save energy. On top of that, Go statically links all external modules into the finished binary, eliminating the administrative overhead of dynamic libraries during execution.

This contrasts strongly with Java, where a compiler converts the program into intermediate code, which is then executed by a virtual machine. This additional software layer slows down execution and costs unnecessary energy. The situation is even worse for interpreted languages: PHP and Python parse each line of code step-by-step during execution. Numerous optimizations and just-in-time compilers are intended to make the resulting applications faster, but there is still some loss, depending on the task. If you want to develop energy-efficient programs, you need to go for Go, right? Or maybe not? The following look at energy efficiency in Go is a useful entry point for examining some more general rules for more efficient coding.


Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Blue Angel Eco-Label

    Germany created Blue Angel, the world's first eco-label for software, back in 2000. The methodology behind Blue Angel could serve as a model for other countries as governments turn their attention to the environmental impact of software.

  • Sustainability by Design

    Sustainability studies for the IT industry often ignore the contributions of software. This article explores what developers and admins can do to create and maintain more energy-efficient systems.

  • Energy Study

    It's getting easier to measure the environmental impact of software. A new study suggests criteria for determining how the choice of software impacts resource use.

  • Tracking Energy Usage

    Want to bring down your electric bill? Investigate your favorite household appliances with a consumption meter and a Raspberry Pi.

  • Intel Atom Platform: Smaller, More Energy-Efficient

    Intel's reworked Atom platform enhances netbooks and Internet devices with integrated graphics and memory controller.

comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters

Support Our Work

Linux Magazine content is made possible with support from readers like you. Please consider contributing when you've found an article to be beneficial.