Printing for the carbon agenda

Helping schools cut carbon emissions

Printing for the carbon agenda

Dumfries and Galloway is one of 32 councils in Scotland. It has a population of close to 150,000 and its Education Services team supports 104 primary and 16 secondary schools. As well as looking after the build, maintenance and running of schools, the team also plays a lead role in helping schools cut carbon emissions.

This is part of a wider effort to cut CO2 across the public sector in Scotland by 42 per cent by 2020.

Dumfries and Galloway supports the Eco-Schools Award Scheme, an international programme that rewards environmental management, action and sustainable education in schools. The programme includes seven metrics to measure performance, such as recycling, litter management and power conservation, and schools can apply for coveted ‘Green Flag’ status to recognise their environmental initiatives.

In addition, the world-renowned Crichton Carbon Centre is based in Dumfries. It supports schools through its ‘Carbon Busters’ initiative, which, on average, achieves a 13 per cent cut in CO2 emissions in schools that adopt recommended environmental practices.

“Scotland has one of the world’s most progressive carbon agendas,” says Larann Foss, education officer, Schools Estate and ICT, Dumfries and Galloway Council.

“This challenges us to find ways to reduce carbon emissions across the council and schools can play a big role in this. As well as investing in the fabric of schools, and making the environment central to the curriculum, we believe we can make big energy savings through the way we use IT. We’re partnering with Epson to raise awareness of this issue.”

80 per cent power savings

The Education Services team works closely with Epson, which supplies its schools with projectors and interactive whiteboards. And with its schools using an older model multifunctional printer from another manufacturer, it asked Epson if moving to newer printer technology could save energy.

“We especially looked at Epson’s latest WorkForce Pro range of printers,” comments Larann Foss.

“The printers are designed with ecology in mind and the figures are impressive: the printers use up to 80 per cent less power than comparable laser models and, with high-capacity cartridges and efficient printing, promise to save 50 per cent on cost per page.

"The standby power performance is especially impressive. When we looked at the potential wattage savings across our printer estate, in every school the power – and cost savings – they were significant. We looked for a way to promote WorkForce Pro inkjet printers to our schools.”

Pedalling for printing

So efficient is the WorkForce Pro printer that it can be powered by pedalling a pushbike connected to a dynamo. A few seconds of pedalling powers the printer up while every five seconds or so of pedalling provides enough power to print a new page.

The ‘bike-printers’ are being sent on a tour of every school in Dumfries and Galloway in 2015, staying in secondary schools for a couple of weeks and primary schools for a week. Two bikes will be used for secondary schools and four across the area’s primary schools. The bikes are a fun way to raise awareness of energy usage. Schools are being challenged to use them in teaching and to look in detail at issues surrounding energy consumption, the use of printing and the full life-cycle cost of a product – not just its purchase price. They’re also being asked to produce a report on their experience of using the bikes. The schools that produce the best analysis of how they can change their use of printers, whilst also raising awareness of the green agenda, will be allowed to keep the WorkForce Pro bike-printer.

Saving a fortune

The project is a fun way for students to think about how much power technology uses. In addition, it also encourages schools to look at the full life-cycle cost when buying new printers. While the council assists schools in buying network printers, schools can also select their own stand-alone units – for example, printers used by head teachers in their offices. The council expects that, as schools realise the power and cost savings that can be achieved, they will also decide to buy WorkForce Pros. And as schools start to consolidate on one make and model of printer, further cost savings can be made through the central procurement and distribution of consumables such as ink cartridges and paper.

“We especially looked at Epson’s latest WorkForce Pro range of printers,” comments Larann Foss. “The printers are designed with ecology in mind and the figures are impressive: the printers use up to 80 per cent less power than comparable laser models and, with high-capacity cartridges and efficient printing, promise to save 50 per cent on cost per page. The standby power performance is especially impressive. When we looked at the potential wattage savings across our printer estate, in every school the power – and cost savings – they were significant. We looked for a way to promote WorkForce Pro inkjet printers to our schools.”