Maggie: Now, all my science fair projects normally involved some type of paper mache volcano. Clearly, not a groundbreaking idea. Well, one student in Pittsburgh used his science fair project to came up with an idea that could help save taxpayers millions of dollars a year. And as Scott Evans shows us, it all comes down to simple office supplies.
Scott: Whether it is Comic Sans or Times New Roman, most people don’t pay much attention to their fonts. But fourteen-year-old Suvir Mirchandani isn’t most people.
Suvir: As you can see, they’re sort of in increasing order of how much ink they use.
Scott: He was still in middle school when he discovered that changing the font on printed documents can save ink, which, as it turns out, can costs more per page than the paper it is printed on.
Using software that calculates ink usage, Suvir found his Pennsylvania school district could save more than $20,000 a year just by changing the font to Garamond.
Suvir: It’s a thinner, lighter font, and it uses a lot less ink.
Scott: So, to give you an idea of just how expensive the ink on your pages can get, according to Consumer Reports, ink for your printer can cost up to $75 an ounce. So, to fill up this soda can with that ink would run you 900 bucks! So Suvir then applied the same idea to the federal government, which is supposed to spend $1.8 billion this year on printing alone.
Suvir: I found that the federal, state and local governments together could save almost $234 million.
Scott: And he told the officials about his idea.
Suvir: The Government Printing Office said they would think about it.
Scott: The Government Printing Office, which handles about 50% of the fed’s printing needs, told CBS News it appreciates Suvir’s suggestion and it will take it under review. Suvir doesn’t seem surprised by that response.
Suvir: Just resistance to change, maybe.
Scott: Even if the government doesn’t take his advice, everyone else can.
Suvir: I mean, anyone can change their font that they’re using for emails, for documents they’re printing out. And that saves them, personally, a lot of money.
Scott: His parents say people can learn a lot from kids these days.
Dad: Teenagers are coming up with wonderful ideas. And that’s what we should try to – as a society, try to see how we can make the best use of their ideas.
Scott: Now in the 9th grade, Suvir is also an accomplished pianist and is already working on a new project – a web browser for people with movement disabilities.
Scott Evans, Channel One News.