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Business inkjet printers could save Australian small businesses more than $45 million a year

September 2012

Laser printers are a drag on productivity

Sydney, 3 August 2012: Around 740,000 Australian small businesses could between them save at least $45 million a year and reduce their carbon footprint if they simply replaced one laser printer with one business inkjet printer this year.

“Laser printers have become anchors that are stopping small businesses from improving productivity and cutting costs,” said Mike Pleasants, Director of Marketing Communication for Epson Australia.

“The facts are there for all to see: business inkjet printers have lower costs per printed page, use less electricity, are faster, have a lower purchase price for comparable printers, and have features like auto-duplexing that can help cut costs even more while improving productivity,” Mr Pleasants said.

“Laser printing technology has been around for 30 years. We have now reached the tipping point where technology advances in business inkjet printers mean they easily outperform business lasers (in the same price range) on all key office productivity measures.”

Mr Pleasants used the examples of an Epson WorkForce Pro 4530 (RRP $379), Epson WorkForce Pro 4540 (RRP $449) and the Epson WorkForce Pro 4590 (RRP $499) supporting PCL and Postscript® for larger workgroups, compared with a well known colour laser multifunction printer (RRP $749).

If one of the Epson printers replaced the colour laser in every small business then in the first year the total savings for Australian small businesses could exceed $45 million, based on independent assumptions about average use.

The savings can come from:

  • Electricity - a reduction of around 43 million KwH/ year (43,000 Mw) cutting power costs to business by more than $8.6 million. This saving is projected to increase to more than $12 million by 2014 given the expected ongoing increases in energy costs.
  • Ink/toner - ink for the business inkjet printer would cost at least $35 million less than toner for the laser across all 739,312 small businesses in Australia. (Where average print volumes are higher than those used - in larger small businesses - then the cost savings would be greater.)
  • Paper - if 25% of the 1,848,280 reams of A4 office paper were printed double sided using the included auto-duplexer on the Epson printers, then 221,794 reams of paper (553 tonne) would be saved at a cost saving of $1,219,865. The colour laser does not have an included auto-duplex print feature.
Details of calculations are given below.

Details of savings calculations

What savings do Australian businesses get by replacing one laser printer with one business inkjet printer today?
Our analysis shows that if the at least 739,312 businesses with less than 20 employees in Australia today replaced one laser printer with one business inkjet printer this would:

  • Deliver a total cost saving of more than $45 million across those businesses
  • Have a small but significant impact on Australian business productivity and efficiency.
  • Result in considerable time and cost savings for each of those businesses, again giving a small but significant boost to productivity.
  • Potentially allow for a reduction in CO2 output by power stations burning brown coal of up to 230,000 tonne.

Savings in electricity costs
Assume each of these businesses replaces one laser printer with one inkjet printer today. What is their total energy saving over one year?

Inkjet v laser weekly energy consumption: source Buyers Laboratory Ltd (BLI) comparative performance evaluation of the Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4530 colour multifunction inkjet versus the HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw colour multifunction laser.

Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4530 689.5732 weekly Watt-hours^

HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw 1819.9821 weekly Watt-hours^

BLI test conditions: For electricity consumption testing, a method similar to and consistent with Typical Electricity Consumption (TEC) principles was used to determine typical weekly energy usage for each device (reported in watt hours), which is based on each device printing 200 pages per day, with the device spending the remainder of the time in idle and sleep modes after printing is completed. The Yokogawa WT210 power meter was used to measure energy usage during all modes for each device.
^Results based on tests performed on European market models by Buyers Laboratory Ltd.

The difference in energy consumption then is 1.13 KwH/week or 58.78 KwH/ year.

For 739,312 businesses that amounts to a reduction in energy consumption of 43,457,692.96 KwH/year.

Electricity prices across Australia vary by State and by amount used, but most analyses show that around 20 c/KwH is an average rate for both residential and business customers with an average consumption volume in 2012. See for example: Comparison of 2011 Australian Standing Offer Energy Prices published by the Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator.

Thus 739,312 businesses could save a minimum of $8,691,538.59 per year on electricity costs by replacing one laser printer with one business inkjet printer.

Many recent reports suggest that electricity prices will increase by somewhere between 35% and 42% by 2014.

So by installing a new inkjet business printer now, by 2014 these same businesses will be saving around $12,168,154.

For comparison Tru Energy’s Yallourn Power Station burns 2,400 tonnes of brown coal every hour to make superheated steam to drive four turbine generators. The turbines have a combined capacity of 1,480 Mw of electricity (enough to supply around two million homes.)

Based on output from this power station an inkjet/laser swap would remove the need to burn almost 70,000 tonnes of brown coal, giving a reduction in CO2 output of 230,000 tonne and hence $5.5million in carbon tax paid (@ $23.90/tonne).

What about ink costs?

To use an independent and reliable test source, assume that the July/August 2012 report by Choice Australia/Which UK includes average annual small business use: 1000 mono pages/250 colour documents (focussing on typical business use only -Epson recommends photos be printed by a photo printer for best results).

The Choice results are:

Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4540 3 cents per page mono/ 23 cents per page colour = annual ink cost of $87.50
HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw 5 cents per page mono / 34 cents per page colour = annual ink cost of $135.00

This amounts to a saving of $35,117,320 across all 739,312 small businesses in a year. If the print volumes are higher than the cost saving is greater.

And paper?

Taking the Choice volumes as the average annual print volume across all 739,312 small businesses, then the paper used amounts to 1,848,280 reams or 4,611 tonne.

If just 25% of those print jobs were printed double sided using the auto-duplexer feature on the Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4530 then 231,035 reams (576 tonne) of paper are not used resulting in a cost saving of $1,270,693 (@ $5.50/ream - Officeworks July 2012) and a notable reduction in the carbon footprint of Australian small businesses.

As for ink, where the print volumes are higher the cost savings will be greater.

Australian Small Business Profile at June 2011

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics: 8165.0 - Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2007 to Jun 2011 (released 31/01/2012)

There were 2,132,412 actively trading businesses in Australia as at June 2011.

At June 2011, the distribution of the Australian business population by industry was similar to the distribution recorded in June 2009. Construction had the greatest number of businesses with 351,890 (16.5% of the total). This was followed by Professional, scientific and technical services and Rental, hiring and real estate services with 250,613 and 226,157 respectively (11.8% and 10.6%), and Agriculture, forestry and fishing with 198,163 (9.3%).

In terms of business survival rates, of the 2,073,793 businesses operating in June 2007, 84.6% were still operating in June 2008, 73.5% were still operating in June 2009, 66.3% were still operating in June 2010 and 60.4% were still operating in June 2011.

There were 702,342 (32.9%) Companies, followed by 622,832 (29.2%) Sole proprietors, 465,802 (21.8%) Trusts and 340,839 (16.0%) Partnerships.

There were 826,389 (38.8%) employing businesses and 1,306,023 (61.2%) non-employing businesses.

Of the employing businesses, 739,312 (89.5%) employed less than 20 employees. This comprised 508,674 businesses with 1-4 employees and 230,638 businesses with 5-19 employees. There were also 81,006 businesses with 20-199 employees and 6,071 (<1%) businesses with 200 or more employees.


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