Reducing Toner Usage
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Recently, I've been exploring creative ways to cut toner usage on the University of Oklahoma campus.
EcoFont software seemed like a really good idea until I started really researching it with OU IT. Ecofont conserves toner by taking normal fonts and punching holes in the middle of letters, as well as by not printing certain graphics based on the user’s preferences. (http://www.ecofont.com/en/products/green/printing/sustainable-printing-u...) EcoFont purports to save roughly 15% of toner when compared to regular printing.
However there are problems with this software, in that the savings may not be as transparent as the company claims, and it is ultimately a product that you have to pay for (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecofont (criticisms), http://farlukar.110mb.com/stuff.php#ecofont). OU IT came up with a simple, brilliant solution to this problem. Instead of buying a piece of software, IT simply changed the default color of text in documents/email in the OU computer lab software. Instead of a true black, it’s now 85% black. Instant 15% toner savings, zero cost! Of course there are limitations, and actual measurement of savings is tricky, but the principle seems sound.
The computer labs here now print in an extremely dark gray instead of a “true black”, or you can think of it as a kind of pastel black. But the point is that the end user is unaffected, which means that in lean terms, that extra 15% of toner was waste: extra materials that actually exceed the customer’s needs.
I want to post this here as a potential best practice for others to emulate. Please reply with either anything wrong with this approach that you can think of, or ways to make it even better.
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