Billions of computing devices run on the same bits of code: operating systems, popular applications, services and webpages. From servers in data centers to the phones in our palms – their power consumption adds immensely to the global carbon footprint. Software developers will more and more ask themselves: how can I reduce the carbon impact of the code I write? What can I do to save computing power?

What it does

"Detective Carbon" is a tool for developers to make code more energy efficient, and reduce its carbon footprint by an exponential multiplier. Firstly, our algorithm is scanning the implemented algorithms, data structures and crawling dependencies to then calculate the optimisation potentials. This way you can see the estimated carbon footprint of your software. Second part of the solution is an intelligent helper directly in the IDE, to find and fix those optimisations. In the best case, changing only some lines of code can mean saving a power plant worth of energy.

How I built it

Our solution consists of three parts. Every parts serves a specific task:

Part 1 (Frontend): The web app (Detective Carbon Web Analyser) built with react.js serves as the main entry point for first-time users or analysis from time to time. It is used to send an analysation request to our backend, where we use all our computational power to scan, cross-check and validate code. It will then show results about the quality, the environmental impact and possible improvements in a clean modern style.

Part 2 (Backend): The node.js backend takes the heavy lifting and contains the „brain“ of Detective Carbon. This is the place where we compute the majority of our analysis to keep the response times as short as possible make sure to generate as low of an carbon footprint as possible

Part 3 (Plugin): The plugin is a visual studio code extension that could be used to analyse your code as you write it. It will provide useful infos about possible energy bugs and marks them with alternatives and improvements.

Challenges I ran into

We always love tackling big challenges, but in the area of climate there is just an unlimited amount of possibilities to choose from. Finding the one piece where we really felt, that we are able to make a difference and have a big enough lever to influence behaviour change is a challenge in it self.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We felt that our solution could not only work on a big scale, but it can make a difference in a time where we don't have much time left to act.

What I learned

We learned about the limitations of code analysis tools and that so called "energy bugs" are often just a sign of missing tools. So providing them in a nice, clean way is a gap that we’re closing.

What's next for Detective Carbon

We strongly believe in our solution and "continuous sustainability" in specific. We really think it is absolutely mandatory to push this concept further and we definitely will! We would love to have you on board!

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