A Few New Year's Resolutions to Save Costs and Conserve

By Alison Dickson-Kozloski - Published, January 3, 2012

As we approach the New Year, it is always good to take some time and focus on what we want to accomplish in the future. The Department of the Navy is facing an increasingly constrained fiscal situation. Budget cuts are forcing us to take a much closer look at how we conduct business and find innovations and efficiencies in our operations -– from energy consumption, to building construction, to IT infrastructure and day-to-day costs.

The DON is approaching this challenge through a variety of means. By fiscal year 2013, all new buildings are required to be certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold. These buildings are no more expensive to the government and are far more efficient. (View more information on LEED certification.) Significant initiatives are also underway to change the way the fleet uses and produces energy, to preserve the environment, and to plan for and mitigate the harmful effects of climate change. For more information, view:

Further, the DON is optimizing IT support with a greater emphasis on enterprise software licenses and data canter virtualization and consolidation to ensure efficiencies are gained without sacrificing the current level of support and security. For more information, see: www.doncio.navy.mil/efficiencies.

While some of the changes will be enterprise-wide, there are things each one of us can do to save money and operate more efficiently because we are all part of the solution. If each person in the DON (civilians, military and contractor support) focuses on working smarter, more efficiently and cost-consciously, we can continue to provide the level of security, mission support and operations as we do today, while also being more energy- and resource-conscious.

The DON's New Year's efficiencies resolutions are easy to keep.

  • Only print when absolutely necessary; and then only print the minimum number of pages -- if possible, print on both the front and back of a sheet of paper;
  • Use networked multifunctional devices (MFD) if available in your office;
  • Scan, email or save to a shared folder whenever possible to deliver information to a distribution list and avoid the cost of overnight delivery, fax lines and associated cost and use of paper. The use of a shared folder also saves valuable email storage capacity;
  • Turn off monitors, printers and copiers during non-business hours;
  • During periods of inactivity, ensure that the built-in power management system for office equipment is active. This feature powers off or lowers the power when inactive; and
  • Turn off the lights when leaving a conference room and work space.

So why should we be concerned with how we print? Those printed pages really add up. In fact, it is estimated that the average employee uses approximately 10,000 sheets of paper per year. According to a Citigroup-Environmental Defense study, the actual cost of printing is between 6 cents and 13 cents per page, or $600 to $1,300 a year per employee. A study conducted by Lexmark, a provider of printing and imaging products, found that 17 percent of pages printed were wasted pages, such as the page at the end of a web printout with just a URL or banner ad at the top, and multiple pages of legalese at the end of a document.

Some additional reasons to minimize paper use:

  • Paper is expensive and represents a significant cost for office printing;
  • Paper is an information management nightmare as it is extremely difficult to store, manage and share;
  • Paper represents security risk as information can be easily misplaced, or simply left lying around where people, who should not have access to it, do; and
  • Paper is a finite resource.

A significant part of printing costs is printer maintenance and supplies. For example, printer ink costs about $10,000 per gallon. That is nearly 3,000 times the cost of gasoline or 3,300 times the cost of a gallon of milk. One more thing to think about as you, responsibly, ring in the New Year -- the going rate on a 750 ml bottle of Cristal Champagne is about $350. If you filled that same bottle with black ink for your office inkjet printer, it would cost roughly $1,350.

Some easy ways to save on printing costs:

  • Duplexing: Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, found that organizations can potentially reduce annual paper costs by 30 percent by selecting duplex or double-sided printing as the default option.
  • N-Up printing: Selecting the "n-up" or "multiple pages per sheet" option within Printing Preferences can be an effective way of including two or more pages on one sheet of paper (this works well for presentations). However, readability and formality often eliminate N-Up as an option for corporate use.
  • Print preview: Using the print preview or print layout functions within most applications gives the user the opportunity to see an approximation of what they are about to print to ensure only the desired pages and content are printed.

By remembering these facts and following through on these resolutions, the department can save money, reduce waste and be good stewards of the environment. These examples illustrate how small steps by DON personnel can make a big impact.

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