The Blue Angel is the German government’s environmental label and has guaranteed high standards of environmental and health protection for over 40 years. The German Environment Agency develops specific standards for the eco-label for a wide range of product groups and services, from wall paint to hardware products and data centers. Since 2022 the eco-label has also been awarded to software products. Software often consumes an unnecessary amount of hardware resources, and software programs with the same functionality can consume different amounts of power even in idle mode. Against this background, efficiently programmed software should become an increasingly important quality criterion with which electricity can be saved. However, the criteria for the Blue Angel for resource- and energy-efficient software products include not only energy and resource efficiency, but also potential hardware life time and usage autonomy. Here, among other things, open data formats, provision of security updates for five years, modularity and freedom from advertising are required. Thus, the concept of sustainability is very broadly defined in this eco-label and also includes approaches to focus on software-related obsolescence of hardware and the sovereignty of the user of the software. Currently, the German Environment Agency awards the Blue Angel only to Desktop applications. This year, the scope of the Blue Angel of software will be expanded in cooperation with educational and research institutions and the developer community. In the future, client-server applications and applications for mobile devices, among others, will also be eligible for the eco-label. In this context, the measurement methods and criteria of the existing eco-label for resource- and energy-efficient software products will be reviewed and revised. This contribution presents the German Environment Agency’s research project on extending the scope of the Blue Angel and the underlying measurement methods and criteria of the eco-label. Furthermore, it will be shown how eco-labels can also increase orientation for consumers in digital products and services in the future.
Anna Zagorski, studied Industrial Environmental Computer Science at HTW Berlin (university of applied sciences) and has been working at the German Environment Agency as a research assistant for Green IT since 2022. She is involved in the following research topics: Blue Angel eco-label for software products, Green Coding and within the context of european and international projects and networks with sustainable digital infrastructures.