Schoolkids on their bikes with Epson

Dumfries and Galloway Council is sending six Workforce Pro WF-5690 printers, hooked up to draw their power from push-bikes equipped with dynamos, on a tour of all 120 schools in the council.

The goals of the project are to drive student awareness of energy use, and to encourage the schools to adopt the ultra-efficient printing technology to help meet the ambitious CO2 emissions reductions targets of 42 per cent across Scotland by 2020.

Epson’s WorkForce Pro printers, which use up to 80 per cent less power than comparable laser models currently in place in many schools in the country, have been connected to a push bike equipped with a dynamo - just five seconds of pedalling provides sufficient power to print one page. Dumfries & Galloway estimate that if they replace every printer in every school with the Epson Workforce Pro WF-5690 that they will save nearly a quarter of a million pounds (£240k) over a five year period.

Schools, which will have the printer in place for up to two weeks, are being challenged to use the printer bikes in their teaching and to look in detail at issues surrounding energy consumption, the use of printing and the full life-cycle cost of a product – not just its purchase price. They’re also being asked to produce a report on their experience of using the bikes and the schools that produce the best analysis of how they can change their use of printers will be allowed to keep their WorkForce Pro bike-printer.

Larann Foss, education officer, Schools Estate and ICT, Dumfries and Galloway Council, comments: “Our calculations suggest that we’ll save a fortune in power and money by moving the schools’ network printers, which we oversee, to WorkForce Pro business inkjet printers. Epson also has a good recycling programme available to complete a compelling eco-argument to moving to a WorkForce Pro printer estate. In our quest to achieve ambitious carbon targets in Scotland, projects like this take us another good step towards our goals whilst having the additional merit of preparing the next generation to be more aware of the environmental challenges we all face.”

While the council assists schools in buying network printers, schools can also select their own stand-alone units – for example, printers used by head teachers in their offices. The council expects that, as schools realise the power and cost savings that can be achieved, they will also decide to buy WorkForce Pros. And as schools start to consolidate on one make and model of printer, further cost savings can be made through the central procurement and distribution of consumables such as ink cartridges and paper.

This activity is part of the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award Scheme, an international programme that rewards environmental management, action and sustainable education in schools.