If you love the earth, choose sustainable printing solutions

March 21, 20194 Minute Read

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You’re probably crossing your fingers and hoping your company is thinking of increasing its tech budget sometime this year—but in the meantime, your legacy tech’s nearing the end of its life. Aging printers, out-of-date monitors, and other old hardware are likely hard at work inside your company right now, and they’re both costing your business money and hurting the environment.

Energy efficiency is the future of the office, because it helps both the environment and your bottom line. With automated lighting, sustainable printing solutions that manage their own energy use, smart thermostats, and even sensors that understand when staff are in the building, you can reduce your footprint dramatically. The key is allocating your budget to areas that benefit efficiency and sustainability.

Modernize your IT fleet

You likely won’t be able to build a fancy, futuristic green office from the ground up, but you can address a large part of your company’s footprint by modernizing your IT infrastructure. As hardware ages, it might have more of a footprint than modern hardware. To reduce your waste and energy consumption, start with these three areas:

  1. Light up your sustainability: It’s astounding how efficient a modern LCD display is when compared to one from 2001. Apple, for instance, cut the energy consumption of Mac displays by 30 percent through the use of new LCD technology. HP went even bigger, setting a target to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions in their global operations by 25 percent by 2025—a goal they hit and surpassed in 2017. HP produced 35 percent less CO2e emissions in 2017 compared to 2015, when they set this goal, and now, they’re aiming even higher to improve their sustainability efforts.1
  2. Update to sustainable printing solutions: Old technology on your network can have massive hidden costs, so updating legacy endpoints should be a priority when divvying up your budget. In addition to new laptops and phones with long battery lives, don’t forget to consider printer energy use. Modern printers can use up to 50–84 percent less energy than comparable laser printers.2 Smarter configuration can help, too. You can optimize modern printer settings to conserve the environment by automatically printing double-sided documents, for example.
  3. Strive for efficient computing: If your outdated desktops, laptops, and other devices are still around just because they still work, they’re likely a huge energy drain. Computers are using more energy today than ever before simply due to all the process-heavy work they’re used for, so you need to save energy where you can. It’s time for old hardware with inefficient processor designs, shortening battery lives, or a lack of low-power states to go.

By upgrading your hardware, you can achieve a more modern, smarter IT environment that will keep your costs down while doing your part for the environment. Modern sustainable products mean you don’t need to lift a finger to optimize for minimal impact.

Put your impact on display

An important way to get buy-in at your business is to align the IT department’s sustainability strategy with corporate sustainability goals. Intel, for example, found that aging network hardware and client devices made up a large chunk of its energy impact. By making this information public and creating a culture of sustainability within its staff, Intel was able to replace its hardware and reduce its footprint dramatically.

The company managed to drop its energy usage by more than 70 percent by using modern hardware, saving 100 million kilowatt-hours in energy. It was a win-win situation: Despite doubling in processing power across its devices, the company’s footprint was halved just by consciously investing in the improvements that matter most.

If you’re aiming to do the same, you need to clearly communicate both the environmental impact—and how it contributes to your company’s big-picture sustainability goals—and the cost-effectiveness of such a move. It’ll be hard for anyone to deny the win-win benefits!

The key is to get started today. There will always be reasons to delay, but you can use the sheer costs of unsustainable energy usage to your advantage and win over your stakeholders. Consciously pushing to reduce your footprint is better for your bottom line, your staff, and the planet.

Sources:

  1. As reported by HP’s 2017 Sustainable Impact report.
  2. Based on internal research, the HP OfficeJet Enterprise X series, while printing, requires up to 80 watts to print. The weighted average for competing devices is 508 watts. Energy claim based on testing comparisons of major competitors in default modes by Buyers Lab Inc., March 2014. Internal testing reveals the HP OfficeJet Pro X576dn uses up to 50 percent less energy compared with the majority of color laser MFPs <$1000 USD and color laser printers <$800 USD as of August 2012.
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