“Printing is out of control” it has been said, and certainly in many universities and colleges, this is true of staff printing. In many institutions there is to be found a plethora of individual use, low-capacity printers attached to individual computers about which the users exhibit strong proprietorial and territorial behaviour. Typically these printers do not print on both sides of the paper (Duplex) and may have high stand-by rates of power usage.
The way out of this state of affairs is, in theory, quite straightforward. Instead of the mixed economy of printing provision provide a much smaller number of energy efficient multi-function devices (MFDs), with Duplex enabled by default, and add in “pull printing” so that jobs are printed only when the user wlaks up to the device and requests the job using a PIN code or smart card. That’s the theory.
However, experience shows that this is not always that easy. There are always the special cases and a reluctance to relinquish cherished pieces of what are seen as personal equipment. People don’t necessarily want to have to get out of their chairs and walk across the office to a printer, or to walk down the corridor to another office. In many older buildings on our campuses it may be hard to find places where MFDs can be sensibly positioned.
In the Greening ICT programme, JISC has funded a project called “Printing Efficiently and Greener (PEG)” at the University of East London:
“The overall aim of PEG is to investigate how barriers to GreenICT can be overcome within a HEI, especially in terms of cross-departmental working and implementing staff behavioural change programmes. This will be achieved by looking at the specific issue of improving the efficiency of printing to deliver a long-term sustainable solution. Rather than just merely implementing changes at an operational level, this project aims to increase understanding of a consultative approach to behavioural change.”
To help insitutions to tackle these issues the JISC funded ICT Energy and Carbon Management project, being run by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC), is running a workshop at East London University on may 27th 2010. This event is free to attend, but priority will be given to delegates from the London and Yorkshire & Humbershire region, where the EAUC is spearheading its work in helping institutions establish their carbon footprints and then reduce them.