Dumfries and Galloway is one of 32 councils in Scotland. It has a population of almost 150,000 and its Education Services team supports 120 schools. As well as looking after the build, maintenance and running of schools, the team also plays a lead role in helping schools cut carbon emissions. This is part of a wider effort to cut CO2 across the public sector in Scotland by 42 per cent by 2020.
Dumfries and Galloway supports the Eco- Schools Award Scheme, an international programme that rewards environmental management, action and sustainable education in schools. The programme includes seven metrics to measure performance, such as recycling, litter management and power conservation, and schools can apply for coveted ‘Green Flag’ status to recognise their environmental initiatives.
“Scotland has one of the world’s most progressive carbon agendas,” says Larann Foss, education officer, Schools Estate and ICT, Dumfries and Galloway Council. “This challenges us to find ways to reduce carbon emissions across the council and schools can play a big role in this. We believe we can make big energy savings through the way we use IT. We’re partnering with Epson to raise awareness of this issue.”
80 per cent power savings
The Education Services team works closely with Epson, which supplies its schools with projectors. With its schools using an older model multifunctional printer from another manufacturer, it asked Epson if moving to newer printer technology could save energy.
“We looked at Epson’s latest WorkForce Pro range of printers,” comments Larann Foss. “The printers are designed with ecology in mind and the figures are impressive: the printers use up to 80 per cent less power than comparable laser models and, with high-capacity cartridges and efficient printing, promise to save 50 per cent on cost per page. The standby power performance is especially impressive. When we looked at the potential wattage savings across our printer estate, in every school the power – and cost savings – were significant. We looked for a way to promote WorkForce Pro inkjet printers to our schools.”
So efficient is the WorkForce Pro printer that it can be powered by pedalling a pushbike connected to a dynamo. A few seconds of pedalling powers the printer up while every five seconds or so of pedalling provides enough power to print a new page.
The ‘bike-printers’ are being sent on a tour of every primary and secondary school in Dumfries and Galloway in 2015. The bikes are a fun way to raise awareness of energy usage. Schools are being challenged to use them in teaching and to look in detail at issues surrounding energy consumption, the use of printing and the full lifecycle cost of a product – not just its purchase price. They’re also being asked to produce a report on their experience of using the bikes. The schools that produce the best analysis of how they can change their use of printers, whilst also raising awareness of the green agenda, will be allowed to keep the WorkForce Pro bike-printer.
Saving a fortune
While the council assists schools in buying network printers, schools can also select their own stand-alone units – for example, printers used by head teachers in their offices. The council expects that, as schools realise the power and cost savings that can be achieved, they will also decide to buy WorkForce Pros. And as schools start to consolidate on one make and model of printer, further cost savings can be made through the central procurement and distribution of consumables such as ink, cartridges and paper.
Concludes Larann Foss: “Our calculations suggest that we’ll save a fortune in power and money by moving the schools’ network printers, which we oversee, to WorkForce Pro business inkjet printers. In our quest to achieve ambitious carbon targets in Scotland, projects like this take us another good step towards our goals whilst having the additional merit of preparing the next generation to be more aware of the environmental challenges we all face.”