Nov. 30, 2011
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
University saves money by reducing paper, toner usage
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – It might be easy to think, what’s the big deal? The office doesn’t spend much on paper. You might be surprised to learn that paper consumption, photocopying and toner expenses add up fast. Slippery Rock University has initiated a strategy that is cutting paper and toner expenses by more than $150,000 a year.
The University, a leader in greening education and innovation, saved $28,785 in paper consumption costs and $126,250 in printer toner costs between fiscal 2010 and 2011, said Mark Combine, SRU director of purchasing.
“I don’t think we envisioned this being so successful,” he said.
SRU took steps in 2010 to lessen printing, especially in Bailey Library and at campus computer labs. Students were advised they could make 500 prints a semester before receiving a bill for printing expenses. Computers in the computer labs were formatted to automatically print on both sides of the paper. Faculty desktop printers were eliminated, and printing and scanning features were connected to all multifunctional copiers, Combine said.
Every time students print, the network tracks their printing and reports to them how close they are to the 500-sheet limit. They were no maximums in place before.
“Students could make 1,000 prints, and there was no oversight,” Combine said. “If you were a student, you had a network ID and could print whatever you wanted.”
In previous years, a user had to select two-sided printing. “There are 9,000 students using our labs. If you’re printing 20 sheets of paper, you had to format it to print on both sides. It’s not something you have to choose anymore,” he said.
Combine said SRU paper consumption averaged 31,434 reams of paper per year between fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2010. The campus consumed 21,331 reams in fiscal 2011 – 10,010 reams less. The cost savings, at $2.85 per ream, equals $28,250, he said.
“There are 500 sheets in a ream. 10,000 reams equals 5.5 million sheets of paper,” Combine said.
Additional savings resulted from the elimination of 450 inkjet printers.
“That happened in February 2010. The provost actually came forward and said, ‘We’re going to eliminate all desktop printers with inkjet print on faculty members’ desks,’” Combine said. “So there went 450 printers, that saved us money.” It also reduced electricity consumption, netting additional savings.
SRU saved $126,250 in ink toner costs with the printing of 5.5 million less sheets of paper.
Information technology staff connected multi-function copiers so that they can copy, scan, print and fax. Combine said this reduced paper consumption because faculty and staff can scan in a document and email the scan to as many people as necessary.
“I scan all the time,” he said. “I scan in one sheet of paper and email 50 people electronic copies. The best part of scanning is it doesn’t cost a penny.”
Limiting free copying, promoting two-sided copying and maximizing the use of the multi-functional copiers were suggestions that a number of SRU employees submitted as part of the budget reduction process in 2010.
“Reaching for 2025 and Beyond,” SRU’s long-term strategic plan, identifies resource utilization, energy conservation and environmental stewardship as institutional priorities.
SRU has previously undertaken many other steps to reduce consumption costs and support greening. Motion detectors in residence halls provide lighting on demand as opposed to continuous lighting. Water-conserving sinks have been installed to save water and energy. Computers kick into sleep mode when not in use to save energy.
In August, SRU’s Energy Conservation Committee launched an Energy Action Campaign asking supporters to commit to three of 10 listed energy savings concepts. They include turning out lights and using natural daylight whenever possible; unplugging chargers and appliances when not in use; powering down computers for the night; using elevators only when necessary; printing less and then only double sided.
SRU has been recognized for its greening by many organizations, including The Princeton Review,” which named it to its guide to 286 green colleges.
Robert Smith, SRU president, signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which calls for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to minimize global warming. SRU also operates a Green Fund making grants available for student-lead greening initiatives.