4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 5, 2016 4:14 PM by dalefmcintyre

    sustainability in beacon:  extracting data, and change over time

    Bill Kasper Guide

      i'm trying to push beacon as an important aspect of our push for sustainability (other than by showing how to reduce printing), and its seeming lack of sustainability data for extraction is making it difficult.


      has anyone been able to get any sustainability data out of beacon, at least for their paper use (which is all it seems to monitor)?  if so, have you been able to get it out on a periodic basis, and going how far back?



        • Re: sustainability in beacon:  extracting data, and change over time
          Cal Curtice Adventurer

          Hi Bill Kasper,


             We don't currently have the ability to export sustainability data out of Beacon as it is limited to the Fleet Manager Dashboard view. We plan on expanding our sustainability data and have initial designs for a grid view focused on environmental impact which could be exported for offline use. As you point out, Beacon currently calculates impact based on paper use, which represents the largest contributor.

            What sustainability data and associated views would be helpful to you in your efforts on campus? Here are some examples of possibilities we are looking at:

          1. Per device calculation of paper-based impact (similar to per device meter count)
          2. Ability to configure paper type as part of the calculation (% recycled paper)
          3. Inclusion of device in impact calculation (electric consumption)
          4. Sustainability summary report with user-selected date ranges


               Let me know what you think...




          Cal Curtice

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: sustainability in beacon:  extracting data, and change over time
              Bill Kasper Guide

              Hey, Cal!


              My queries (to Dale, among others) are based on what the UCSC Carbon Fund office is asking me to calculate for a grant proposal (we're trying to get $ to pay for Beacon).


              Paper use is essential to know, because so many costs/savings can be extrapolated from it.  However, the three components easily identifiable in paper use's GHG emission/carbon footprint reduction are electricity savings (from not making the paper vs. making it, or making it virgin vs. making it recycled at varying percentages), domestic water savings (with the same variables), and waste reduction (not having to recycle or otherwise dispose of it).  These are all part of my proposal calculations, and could be built into Beacon per your (1) and (2) above.


              However, what I can't use Beacon for is how to estimate device electricity savings.  Typical Electrical Consumption (TEC) values are now being given by most manufacturers, and are available for many devices (printers and MFDs, especially) back to 2007 or so, both in the US and the EU.  By knowing a device's annual TEC, I can estimate its cost to the University for electricity, and by ganging a number of devices together (along with paper usage/costs) I can calculate what actual savings in both dollars and GHG reductions would be if they were replaced by a single MFD.  In fact, if I can get that data into something where calculating it isn't difficult, and have a way of establishing a baseline and a change state, I can sell my program to much of campus on *that* basis alone (regardless of invoice costs and/or customer service quality).  In my grant application I found that an 8:1 replacement rate (given the devices in place for my trial run) for 160 printers would save nearly 16 tons of GHG/year in electricity usage alone, where the paper reduction from using Pharos (so people make conscious decisions to print; the idea is unregulated printers would be replaced by Pharos-regulated MFDs) would only generate a reduction of about 7 tons of GHG/year.  Cost savings are $8,600/year for electricity alone, and an additional $4,400 for paper reduction.


              So you can see that knowing TEC and how it would change with change in devices is pretty important to know.  So I think (3) above is essential.  I also think you could modify it by the utilization.  For example, if TEC is 10 kWh/week/printer, thats 520 kWh/year; if it's being 80% utilized (based on mfg suggested monthly usage rate, which I assume is what utilization is based on in Beacon), the implication is that it's at rest more than expected, so I think it'd be fair to calculate its annual TEC at 416 kWh (80% of 520 kWh).  Combined across a fleet, especially if I can add printers and watch them for a month or three to establish some sort of baseline for my users' costs, this is a powerful tool to push change, and Pharos onto campus.


              Overall, I think device-level granularity is where it needs to be to be most effective.  Date ranges are essential, and storage of data becomes a problem.  Having a server here locally with Beacon running on it (as Pharos does now) would allow me to house the data more cheaply, but I know y'all are wanting to keep Beacon in the cloud.  Coming up with a data backup/storage plan that would somehow allow me to see more than 3 months (or whatever Beacon is now allowing), and any time period since datagathering started, seems essential.  Otherwise, you're going to have to figure out how to get Beacon to store an exponentially-growing amount of data per customer, and allow customers to see data as far back as initial collection for the entire time they're using Beacon...which would be fine, from a customer perspective, but probably would destroy Beacon's margins and render it a non-viable product.


              I hope this is clear, let me know.  I appreciate being able to share it with you.


              Happy New Year.  You heading to New Orleans next month?


                • Re: sustainability in beacon:  extracting data, and change over time
                  Cal Curtice Adventurer

                  Hi Bill Kasper,


                       Really great response - it is much appreciated. We do have TEC available to us as part of our device database and is a key planned component of expanding our sustainability data. I like your idea around using utilization as it helps keep the concept 'simple'. It is easy to try and be too perfect on that calculation, basing it on various device states (printing, standby, sleep, etc).

                       To address the time-bound reporting challenges we do have data retention plans that would allow reporting at the device level over an extended period of time. The device data is not much of a challenge, but Print Analytics certainly will be as the volume of data at the job level is significantly higher.

                       I will be in New Orleans and very much looking forward to it. I'll be sure to catch up with you on these and other interesting topics.


                  Best Regards,



                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: sustainability in beacon:  extracting data, and change over time

                    Hey Bill,


                    One of the things that changes electrical consumption is the timing of the appearance of jobs at the printer.  5 jobs that come once/day all at the same time will consume less energy than the same 5 jobs that are sent 2 hours apart ( or whatever time period that allows the fuser to cool to standby mode or whatever the lowest energy state of the device is.  I think this can be modelled by a general equation that is applied to parameters on a device-by-device basis.  I have a connection in the sustainability realm that is an analytic genius and may be able to consult on this.  Let me know if this would be interesting for you in the short term outside of product changes.


                    I plan on being in New Orleans next month.  We will have a speaker from EnerNoc and as well as someone from AASHE attending.  BTW, Pharos is now a Business Leadership member of AASHE in addition to being growing as a certified B Corp.