Print Management Insider Blog

3 Powerful Tools For a Building A Greener Office

Posted by West McDonald on Jul 30, 2015, 11:08:21 AM
Business woman carrying plant
Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on the topic of global warming and climate change, most people would agree that improving sustainability in the workplace is good for corporate image and environmental stewardship.  In offices all over the world Green is the new Black.  Ernst & Young agrees:  In a report co-written with the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, they state that there are a host of values in adopting good Sustainability reporting
  • Better Reputation
  • Meeting the expectations of employees
  • Improved access to capital
  • Increased efficiency and waste reduction.

We all want to make a difference, but where to start?   How can we produce measurable sustainability metrics?  Does going green have to cost me money or can it also improve my bottom line?  If only there were some tools to help clarify my options.  Good news!  There are a host of sustainability measurement tools out there to help you create a greener office while returning valuable capital to your bottom line!  We have selected 3 of them to help you get started.  All are free of charge and are a great way to get started on the road to measurable sustainability for your office.

Print Audit ROI & Green Calculator: Turning green into black

Why not improve your carbon footprint AND save valuable company dollars?  One of the largest contributors to carbon footprints is good-old office copying and printing.  Most offices have no control measures in place for printing and the financial and environmental costs might shock you.

Below is a calculator you can use to show both the positive financial impact and greening benefits of printing more responsibly.  Let’s look at some easy and highly effective targets for a medium sized company that prints 3 million pages a year:

  • Moving 60% volumes from high-cost printers to existing lower-cost MFPs:  You would be shocked to realize how many large jobs are printed on desktop printers.  That is an expensive way to print.
  • Increasing duplexed pages from zero to 50%:  Another way to save paper is to use less of it by printing on both sides of the page.
  • Reducing print volumes by 30%:  By using a print governance tool as provided by companies like Print Audit.



The results are quite astounding: Nearly $50,000 a year in savings and significant environmental footprint reductions just by printing more responsibly!

The Print Audit calculator will allow to input your own numbers to get a realistic picture of savings you could generate for your own office.

The Paper Calculator: Go deeper!

This is one of the best calculators I’ve seen for giving meaningful and eye-opening environmental impact data for measuring the environmental footprint of office printing.  In this particular example I used an organization that uses 3,000,000 sheets of paper per/year (it takes 400 reams of paper to make a ton):

*Current State Green Impact (one year):


Raw numbers can be a little detached.  How do these numbers translate to everyday items we might be more familiar with?

  • Trees: That translates to around 397 trees every year, or nearly 1 full acre.
  • Energy:  The equivalent of heating about 6 homes/year.
  • CO2: That is around what driving 8 cars/year produces.
  • Water:  All this paper uses 377,874 gallons of water, the equivalent of about 1 swimming pool!
  • Solid Waste:  This example produces 31,776 pounds of sludge and waste , the equivalent of about 1 city garbage truck full.  That is a garbage truck being filled EVERY DAY and then some.

*all  statistics and phrasing taken from

Of course they can make changes which will produce some pretty incredible green results.  Let’s see what happens if we:

  • Reduce print volumes by 30%: By using a print governance tool as provided by companies like Print Audit.
  • Use 30% recycled paper: Choosing an option that uses a mix of pre and post consumer fibre content.

Future State Results Green Impact (one year):

  • Trees saved: Saves 203 trees every year!
  • Energy saved: Saves equivalent energy used for heating about 2 homes/year.
  • CO2 saved: Saves equivalent of CO2 produced by 3 cars/year.
  • Water saved: Saves 152,316 gallons of water for fish and drinking.
  • Solid waste:  Saves equivalent sludge and waste of 65% of a garbage truck load every year!

Concrete and measurable sustainability metrics like these can go a long way to build your corporate reputation and improve transparency for your corporate stakeholders.

Personal Footprint Calculator: How do you rate?

Now that you’ve found some great ways to measure and affect sustainability at the office, how about at home?  Taking a few minutes to run through the calculator provided by the Global Footprint Network is a great place to start.

I had a look at my own footprint and was surprised by the results!  I input values based on my day to day activities. Print Audit’s head office is in Calgary so I selected that as my location.  Here are the shocking results of me ‘just being me’ everyday:


The land area it takes to support my day to day living is nearly 8 football fields!  What is neat about this calculator is that it let me know about an initiative in the city of Calgary (depending on where you live it will show you different organizations) called “imagineCalgary” objective which is aiming to reduce the city’s footprint by 30% by 2036.  How cool is that?  This calculator will put you in touch with organizations in your area aiming to help improve sustainability actions.

I know that you’ll get good results by using one or all of these calculators as you look to bolster your corporate and personal sustainability efforts.  What are some of the things you do to reduce your environmental footprint?  If you’ve already engaged in serious sustainability efforts, what are some of the results?  Please leave a comment and let us know what you and your organization are doing to make sustainability easier to measure and take action on.  I look forward to hearing your stories.

Topics: business, business strategy, Business Tips, environment, green, managed print, Managed Print Services, MPS, office, paper, print audit, print management, print tracking, printers, printing, Printing, ROI, Savings, strategy, success, Technology, technology, tips

West McDonald

Written by West McDonald

West McDonald is Vice President of Business Development for Print Audit.

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