Here at Artefactual, we are working to understand the environmental impact of our digital access and preservation practices. But measuring the impact of software applications– particularly open-source software applications, given their distributed nature – can be really tricky. There’s a lot of layers of information to identify, find, and parse before you can even begin calculating the impact.
Recently, we began working to find ways to quantify the environmental impact of Archivematica. We chose to start with the Software Carbon Intensity (SCI) specification, which was created by the Green Software Foundation, as it allows software practitioners to calculate a rate of emissions per functional unit. We believe this will result in a more useful output for users operating the software in a variety of environments, and for us as we try to identify potential efficiencies.
So far, we have focused on determining the first part of the SCI, the energy consumed by the software (E). If you would like to follow our progress, please visit our environmental impact git repository for updates, files, and to see our process.