Cumbernauld father has a cracking idea to save energy
BEING driven to distraction by family members forever leaving lights and electrical appliances on around the house proved to be the spark of inspiration for a former teacher which led him to invent an energy-saving device.
Brian O'Reilly, 36, of Cumbernauld, has developed the Energy Egg, which senses when a room is empty and automatically turns off any electrical appliances in it.
The device has already been scooped up by supermarket giant Tesco, which is selling it on its website, and Mr O'Reilly is now in talks with energy firms and hotel chains to take it on.
The father of three came up with the idea after he found himself constantly nagging his family about switching off lights and appliances not being used.
The device is linked wirelessly to a control adaptor – similar to a multi-way plug – into which electrical goods are connected.
It then detects when a room is unoccupied and disconnects the power to those items. Mr O'Reilly said: "I've always been quite concerned about energy efficiency and recycling stuff and I found it quite difficult with the kids and my wife to get everything switched off.
"It was always down to me to do the trawl at night. I thought, it doesn't have to be like this, we've got the technologies to do this automatically."
His idea for the Energy Egg was inspired by realising that a motion sensor similar to those in home alarm systems could control power on appliances.
Mr O'Reilly secured funding to develop the Energy Egg via an Enterprise Fellowship with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and research and development support from the University of Strathclyde, a partner in the product, while Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Council provided grants, advisory support and premises.
He has now established his own company, TreeGreen, to produce the device.
Professor Graham Ault, of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, said: "The Energy Egg is a simple but highly effective way of helping people reduce their day-to-day power consumption. Brian and TreeGreen have combined engineering excellence with a real eye for design and business, and we're looking forward to watching the Energy Egg go from strength to strength. The staff in our department were delighted to work with Brian as he developed the technology and we are equally delighted at how the product and company are now progressing."
His device has already found an outlet after Tesco picked up on the idea and the egg is now being sold from its online shop.
Mr O'Reilly said: "For me it's just great to know we're not wasting energy needlessly or throwing money down the drain. I don't have to worry as much about the girls running off to play with their friends and leaving TVs or stereos on in their room. My mum and dad's generation grew up switching stuff off, and I think that's starting to come back now.
"People are more aware of the need to save energy."
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