Go Green with Your Printer

By Courtnie Packer
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With the ability to print anywhere between 12 and 35 pages per minute, laser printers function quickly. These devices offer advanced features for speed and high resolution, wireless printing and high monthly duty cycles. Unfortunately, with so many pros, there must also be a con. Without proper consideration and care, these devices can consume a significant amount of energy.

These printers are near the top of the list of devices with the highest energy consumption. For example, an average laser printer consumes at least 100 watts during use, while some may use up 1,120 watts. Even though these can be extremely power-hungry devices, you can do several things to limit their consumption of excessive energy and reduce your carbon footprint.

Look for Energy Star Qualified Products

When a device is labeled an Energy Star product, this simply means that the product is energy efficient and doesn’t lack any features or overall quality to make it that way. The Energy Star website states that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established specifications for products to be labeled as Energy Star qualified. These specifications include:

  • Product categories must contribute significant energy savings nationwide.
  • Qualified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers in addition to increased energy efficiency.
  • If the qualified product costs more than a conventional, less-efficient counterpart, purchasers must be able to recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings and the like within a reasonable period.
  • Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer.
  • Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.
  • Labeling would effectively differentiate products and would be visible to purchasers.

Buying Energy Star approved products is one of the best and easiest ways you can limit your energy consumption. This option requires the least amount of work on your part and will provide you with the best results.

Turn Off the Device When Not in Use

Pressing the power button and turning off your device may seem like a simple thing to do, but is something many people seem to regularly forget to do. Even when idle, printers can still use 20 watts or more of power. Another option is to use your printer’s power saving mode. This feature will help you reduce the product’s electricity consumption while it is sitting idle. If you use your printer on a frequent basis and it is inconvenient to turn it on and off after each use, assign someone to turn it off at night. You are using a lot more energy than you may realize if you leave it on when it is not in use for several hours.

Be Smart About What You Print

Be careful about what you print. Cut down your printing by using duplex printing features that automatically print on both sides of a page. Whenever possible, use the fewest number of images on your printed documents. Printing multiple detailed images will make the printer work harder and use more energy. In addition, being careful about what you print will not only limit your carbon footprint, but it will also help you save on paper and ink costs and will keep more money in your pocket.

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