Student Creates Device that Could Knock €400 off Electricity Bill

Sunday, 7 December 2008

An NUI Galway student could expect to save over €400 a year thanks to a home-made device he invented which measures domestic power use. Gerard Gallagher, a student of the new programme in Science and Technology Studies, was awarded the Project Prize for his idea entitled 'Domestic Energy Monitoring'. Using off-the-shelf components, he created a device which revealed a considerable wastage of power, particularly overnight. Originally from Easky, Co. Sligo, Gerard says the idea of the domestic energy monitor arose from the need to be able to monitor real-time energy usage in the home. He wanted to examine the hypothesis that, in doing so, energy wastage can be identified and eradicated. According to Gerard, "A facility is already in place in the form of the ESB meter, but this only measures cumulative rather than real-time usage. The prototype measures current usage, and with the aid of a microprocessor, formats and displays results on an LCD display, and also outputs results to a serial port for PC or network connection. This allows a monitoring station to log and save both real-time and historical usage which can be further processed or examined as required". He added: "If I can pinpoint the potential energy saving it could contribute to a significant decrease in domestic carbon emissions, not to mention ESB bills. My current estimate for savings is €409 for the household per annum". Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, the Science and Technology Studies programme co-ordinator, Dr Niamh Nolan, complemented Gerard on the originality and relevance of his project: "The judges were exceptionally impressed with the overall standard of the projects and noted that this bodes well for the success of the programme and its future graduates". The modular programme in Science and Technology is a new programme targeted at working adults and delivered under the auspices of the Atlantic University Alliance; a collaboration between NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Cork. The blended delivery of the programme enables participants to adjust study times to suit their lifestyle and to spread the programme out over a suitable time frame. Participants engage with the programme through custom written course books, online and at Saturday tutorials. The project module provides participants with an opportunity to actively apply their learning and skills to a particular work or life scenario under the supervision of a programme tutor. The prize was generously donated by ULearning Skillnet, a network of industry representatives and academics dedicated to providing flexible programmes of benefit to enterprise and enterprising individuals. For more information on the programme please visit www.modularbsc.ie
-ends-

« Back