Sept. 24, 2009

Live Green: New printer tool saves some green

by Paula Van Brocklin

Iowa State students who crank out term papers at Parks Library soon will be saving trees and money every time they push the print button on their computers.

The Government of the Student Body recently provided the library $3,720 of student-generated funds to retrofit the library's 15 public printers with a device that allows for duplex (two-sided) printing. The simple fix will save approximately 20,000 pounds of paper (that's 1,000 reams) annually, and about $4,000 over the next two years. The printers will be upgraded within the next month.


The project is a team effort between GSB, the library sustainability task force and the library's information technology department.

Live Green!

More information about Iowa State's "Live Green!" initiative is online.

"[We were] looking at different ways to be good stewards of our resources, and we knew the public printers were in very good condition but they didn't duplex," said Sarah Passonneau, chair of the library's task force.

And since one of GSB's primary initiatives this academic year is promoting sustainability among students, the printer project was a good fit.

"GSB has [several] green initiatives this year, and this is only a small part of what we want to do for the student body," said Clayton Severson, GSB director of sustainability. Severson added that the money the library saves will be used to support future green projects, such as energy-efficient windows and lighting.

Simple and easy

Once the printers are equipped with the new tools, which are approximately 12 by six inches and sit in the printer trays, the default print setting will be duplex. However, students will have the option of printing single-sided, if necessary.

"If the requirements of a class demand single-side printing, they can do that," Passonneau said.