An Open Letter to Developers this Earth Day

An Open Letter to Developers this Earth Day

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am not a developer, I am an end-user but I have some recommendations for “greening” your next distribution.

The first is to please consider a small change in your development habits. Wherever possible, please set the default printer settings to “double-sided” for all printers. This will should theoretically reduce the amount of paper printed by users in half. Although they have a choice to change the printer to single-sided printing, experience has shown that many users keep their default settings. For a success story using this method, please see this link. Remember, even if you’re not motivated by saving trees, you’re still saving money.

The second recommendation is to develop a small utility for end-users to measure their print volume. This seems as if it should be trivial to develop but an extremely useful utility for offices to manage their printing and make decisions on how to best reduce their consumption of printing resources. Such an approach has been suggested before by commercial companies such as Print Associates (it looks like they may be out of business, however which may bode well or ill for a non-profit seeking to fill this gap) a laundry list of the kinds of information they report can be found here. To avoid data glut for managers we recommend measuring only a few items out of this laundry list to provide actionable intelligence:

  1. A time-stamp
  2. The IP address (user ID of a printing computer)
  3. The program printing
  4. The number of pages printed
  5. The number of instances a particular file is printed (separate from one instance of a many copy print job)
  6. The printer options used (gray-scale, double-sided, 2-up, etc)

This data can then be translated into page counts/trees/dollars and displayed in a handy dashboard and/or company intranet page to track the progress of certain users. This should be a fairly simple program to write and could probably be slapped together by a few savvy open-source coders in less than a day. The impact though could be significant.

For a longer synopsis of my thoughts on Greening printing, please see this posting:
Print Yourself a Greener Office on the Idea ClearingHouse Blog

Best, and Happy Earth Day!

Wayne Smith
Engineer & Social Entrepreneur
Idea ClearingHouse

Is today Earth Day? I wonder what planet I was on yesterday?..if it
wasn’t earth, then I need to stop drinking that stuff. I can’t wait until
Venus day!

Kim (4/17/2009 11:58:49 AM Mountain)

rotfl!rotfl! i’m glad i’m from Othala


Anyway… great ideas. :slight_smile:

And…finally (drum roll please) EARTH DAY HAS ARRIVED!

I think one of the things to do is to encourage people to turn off their computers at work when they don’t use it, or at least use suspend to ram or suspend to disk. (I personally use the latter)

Or even turn off the home ones when they go to work, or when they (the human beings) go to sleep. Seriously. :slight_smile: