Demystifying Green Printing

While it is true that there is an initiative being undertaken to right size the university’s printer fleet, we wanted to take this opportunity to reassure everyone that we will not be taking your printers without a mutual agreement.

Per President Wollman’s FALL 2018 Opening Meeting, ITS is managing the printer rightsizing effort in collaboration with the Operations Department. The steps we are taking are listed below.

1.   An ITS representative will be meeting with individual departments, assessing need, and centralizing printing functions. This process includes removing costly desktop and laser printers and moving to digital multi-function devices. However, it is NOT strictly an elimination effort. If an area is lacking printing capacity, every effort will be made add capability, streamlining departmental workflow.

2.  When an assessment is complete, ITS will share it with the dean or department head for their consideration, and changes will be made if deemed necessary. ITS will then begin setting everyone up to print to the appropriate devices, and removing unneeded & obsolete printers & fax machines.

The first floor of Old Main was first to partner with ITS in this undertaking, and in the course of consolidating, they went from 16 assorted devices down to  2 digital copiers.

Widener’s aging fleet of laser and inkjet printers has become unsustainable long term. Maintenance, repair, and the cost of consumables has continued to escalate. Digital imaging is the industry standard, proving to be a more fiscally and ecologically responsible than older technology. ITS is aware that each area has unique requirements and will customize a plan that will benefit everyone.

ITS Takes the Printer Plunge!

When the time came to replace our old copier/printer, we decided it was the perfect time to get serious about reducing the number of printers in our midst.

In November 2017, ITS collaborated with the Operations Department to reduce a fleet of nine assorted printers and an old copier to a single digital multipurpose device (printer/copier/scanner). Admittedly, some of us were anxious about the change, but once our computers were set up to print to the new device, they were quickly forgotten.

Was it worth it? Here is a short list of what we’ve observed*:

Reduced power consumption

Estimated power costs have been reduced from $217 to $22 annually.

Reduced printing volume

Our average monthly printed-page count has dropped from 4257 to 1428! This reflects a new thought process regarding old habits.

Lower cost per page

Ink and toner output costs on antiquated laser printers used to range between 2 to 10 full cents per page. Now new digital copying has yielded tremendous savings with toner costs ranging just 3 cents per page for color and a half penny for monochrome.

Reduced co² output 

All of our old laser printers were once producing (approximately) 1606 pounds of co² per year. Operating the digital copier now produces only an estimated 218 pounds, independent of reduced impacts of carbon and pollution from manufacturing.

Fewer points of failure

Every endpoint is considered a possible point of failure. We’ve reduced the total number of devices that require labor to maintain.

Secure printing

The ability to print confidentially has been addressed through security features of our device.

This pilot is a win/win/win. We reduced costs, improved our carbon footprint, and ended up with less equipment to maintain. We’re pleased with the results, and hope to see more departments ready to take the printer plunge!

* All numbers are based on available data and estimates generated by EPA and Hewlett-Packard sustainability calculators.