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Working toward carbon neutrality


November 11, 2010

When University Technology Office (UTO) staff moved from the Computing Commons to the University Services Building, they reduced a dozen copiers and printers for more than 100 staff members down to three Canon multifunction devices with the ability to accomplish the same tasks more efficiently. UTO uses Canon’s state-of-the-art technology to meet the copy, print and scan needs of their department. Environmentally, this saves energy and paper consumption as well as potentially saving thousands of dollars in toner. One Canon toner cartridge in a standard multifunction device can print up to 48,000 prints (6 percent coverage on a page), which is equivalent to 19 printer toners found in HP devices.

Take that same concept and incorporate it universitywide and ASU could save a lot. Nearly 3 million liters of water and 3,500 trees could be saved every single year simply by printing documents double-sided rather than single-sided. The ASU-Canon partnership team recently completed a Sustainability Assessment of all document output equipment on all four ASU campuses and the findings were astounding. By making small changes to our printing habits, the benefits could be dramatic. 

According to the assessment, by making simple changes the university could benefit from nearly $1.9 million, or 36 percent, in cost savings while contributing significantly to reducing ASU’s carbon footprint. This is the first comprehensive print-cost analysis done by a university in the United States.

“Canon has done an exceptional survey to determine our potential financial and environmental benefits,” said Robert Lane, director of digital document services. “The next step is ours.  We have to be willing to make changes in the way we currently work to realize our goals.”

Canon mapped 6,660 copiers, fax machines, printers and scanners ranging from production-level multifunctional devices down to personal desktop printers. The assessment outlined several key areas that would benefit the university dramatically with both cost savings and environmental impact. The user device ratio would increase from the current 1.3 employees for each device to nine or more employees for each device. All print devices would meet the current Energy Star standards. Currently, only 11 percent of printers support the current Energy Star standards. The goal is to have 80 percent of the devices support duplex printing by 2015 – up from 19 percent currently. Another goal is to have 80 percent of the devices using toner that can be locally recycled – up from 4 percent currently.

Additionally only 40 percent of machines would be single-function devices, all multifunctional units will have scanning capabilities, 60 percent will have the ability to have mailbox and secure printing capabilities and 11 percent will have the capability of output in color.    

“ASU’s sustainability goals require a comprehensive approach to problem solving that not only looks at what products we use on campus, but how we use products and the systems that are in place,” said Bonny Bentzin, director of University Sustainability Practices.  “For example, the old way of business ‘required’ print devices in every workspace, which use excess energy, require excess (expensive) toner cartridges and actually encouraged excess printing and paper consumption. Networked document imaging reduces electronic waste, print cost and encourages movement and collaboration.”

Like UTO, additional departments are currently developing customized printing plans with Canon, so they too can reduce their current equipment inventory while retaining optimal production. By each department taking steps to make changes within their organization, the university can be positively impacted.

“We strongly suggest that departments explore options for installing multifunctional equipment and, where possible, changing the default print settings to black and white, two-sided printing,” said Ray Jensen, associate vice president for University Business Services and the university sustainability operations officer.  “We realize that this isn’t currently possible on all our current equipment, but we should move in that direction quickly.  The environmental and cost benefits are worth it.”

The ASU-Canon program is part of ASU’s university-wide sustainability practices program and  a partnership between ASU and Canon to create cost-effective, customized printing solutions for ASU departments while supporting ASU’s sustainability efforts by providing eco-friendly solutions for everyday printing.

Any ASU colleges or departments that would like to explore the opportunities for their areas should contact 480-965-COPY, option 4. For more information about the ASU-Canon program, please visit http://cfo.asu.edu/purchasing-dds.