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A new system measures software efficiency so that CIOs can see the environmental impact of their enterprise software and any new packages they might think of buying.

Software analyst CAST has launched the CAST Green IT Index to help companies identify wasteful software resources and focus on the environmental impact of their enterprise systems.

The Index applies standard rules for judging software quality to identify poor architectural and coding practices, as these are symptoms of resource wasting software.

Users of the Cast Application Intelligence Platform (AIP) now have the option to add a Green IT Index to their application analytics dashboard for insight on the environmental effects of their application portfolio.

According to CAST’s own studies (using its Appmarq database of 1,800 enterprise applications) the three industries that topped the Green IT Index are utilities, government and pharmaceuticals.

At the bottom of the green hierarchy with the lowest scores were the telecoms and media industries.

The most significant inefficiencies result from very large enterprise software with components that interact through multiple layers of technology, according to CAST.

CAST’s EVP of strategy and market development Lev Lesokhin said the Green Index was designed, because there is too much emphasis in the ‘Green IT’ movement on hardware.

This is partly because the environmental impact of software has been very hard to measure, he said.

“With the new Green IT Index, CIOs can now objectively measure how the performance of each application affects their carbon footprint, and ultimately, their bottom line,” Lesokhin said.

Modeled after CAST’s software quality indices of robustness, performance, efficiency, transferability and changeability, the CAST Green IT Index is expressed as a number between 1 and 4.

A score of 4 indicates that an application does not violate any of the standard programing rules CAST applies to evaluate the environmental sustainability of software.

CAST’s SVP of product development Olivier Bonsignour said inefficient programming uses hardware resources wastefully, even causing outages.

“This can impact a firm’s carbon footprint in a significant way, especially when it happens repeatedly,” Bonsignour said.

“Firms and industries with high robustness and efficiency health software factors are also greener”.