How to Save Energy When Printing and Copying

by Rich on May 5, 2009

Printers and copiers use a lot of energy-and standby mode can be misleading. If you want to save energy while printing and copying, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Saving Energy While Printing:

Laser printers use more energy. Laser printers have a lot of advantages-including lightning speed and superior print quality. But they are definitely not energy-saving, even during standby mode. If you’re concerned about the energy use of your printer, an inkjet printer is a better option.

If you do need a laser printer, you can save energy by buying a slower one. The fastest laser printers tend to draw more energy than the slower ones, even when not in use.

Keep your paper use in mind. When considering saving energy, you shouldn’t just be thinking about the energy you use yourself. In addition, consider how much energy it takes to make new paper-approximately 15 watt-hours per sheet. The less paper you use, the less energy you’re using, essentially. Print on both sides of paper sheets whenever you can, and use recycled paper-it takes considerably less energy and natural resources to recycle paper than it does to make it from scratch.

Bear in mind that while inkjet printers generally don’t have a problem printing on used paper, allowing you to print drafts on the back sides of old printouts, laser printers jam more often if you try to print on used paper.

Standby isn’t energy-saving. Most printer energy is used when the machine isn’t actually in use-during standby mode. If you’re not using your printer, turn it off-it won’t use more energy to power up than it does while in standby.  If you want to save energy while your printer isn’t being used, look for a printer that offers a low-energy “sleep” mode as the default instead.

Saving Energy While Copying:

Copiers are energy hogs. The low-volume copiers will always use less energy than the faster models, but all copiers use a lot of energy-approximately 40 to 70 while in standby, and as much as 1,600 watts during the copy process, even for a low-volume printer. The amount of watts used won’t necessarily be advertised on the equipment itself; sometimes the amount of energy used during copying appears as the amount used “during peak power.”

Look for energy-saving features. Look for a copier that comes with an “energy saver” or “sleep” mode that activates when the machine isn’t in use. In addition, look for a machine that has a duplexing feature-it can copy on both sides of a sheet of paper.  An energy-saving copy machine will boot up quickly with a short “time to first copy” period after it’s been in sleep mode.

Turn it off when not in use. When you don’t need your copier to be ready to work any minute, don’t leave it on. Turning it off will always use less energy than standby or sleep mode, even on an energy-saving machine, and it doesn’t make the printer wear out faster.

Be sure the correct settings are in place. Many copier manufacturers send a technician to install new copiers. If so, be sure your technician activates energy-saving features such as sleep mode, duplexing, and auto-off as default settings. They won’t always do this if not requested, and you may not realize these settings are not in place while using the machine.

Make sure everyone in the office is aware of energy-saving practices. If your copier is located in an office, it’s important to be sure all employees are cooperating in printing on both sides of the paper and making sure that the printer is turned off at the end of the day. Be sure your employees know how to use the duplexing feature and don’t use the copy machine when an electronic document can be substituted.

Copiers and printers can both use a great deal of energy. When buying both of these machines, look for slower output and energy-saving features such as duplexing, auto-off and sleep mode. Turn the machine off at night if you don’t have an auto-off feature, and print on both sides of each page as often as you can. If you do, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of energy used at home or at the office.

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