The university typically consumes between 54 and 60 million sheets of paper per annum. That’s a lot of paper. Earlier this year we implemented a new printing management system that utilises energy-efficient multi-function printers (MFPs) and seeks to minimise wastage and unnecessary printing by defaulting to duplex printing (printing on both sides of the sheet) and implementing “pull” printing (where the user requests his/her print job by presenting the proximity student/staff card at the printer). This has been rolled out on 176 MFPs in student computer user areas (CUAs) mostly. And the results are already significant.
During August, the first full month of operations, the savings on over 3 million page prints were as follows:
- 900,000 sheets as a result of duplex printing
- 395,000 sheets as a result of “pull” printing (i.e. sheets that would have been printed if the user did not have to request them at the printer).
That represents a saving in paper of over 30%.
The percentage of all print jobs that were duplex was 62%, while the pull print ratio was 70% – which reflects the fact that some devices are not yet being operated in “pull” mode but are being tracked.
Ultimately, up to 600 devices will be managed by the system.
Besides the green and savings aspects of the solution, it also facilitates secure printing at a shared MFP, as the user’s job is only printed when the user presents his/her card at the MFP. Uncollected jobs are automatically deleted after a preset, configurable period. The project leader is Le Roux Franken – feel free to contact him via this blog if you have questions.
In another initiative that seeks to reduce paper usage amongst other goals, one faculty is piloting a laptop-per-student initiative from the beginning of 2011 in partnership with the IT Division. All learning material will be digitally preloaded onto the laptops which will sync to an online e-learning repository when connected.