Utilities monitor wins award

A device that allows consumers to monitor their consumption of electricity, water and gas in real time through a traffic-light system has won its developer two prizes.

Perth inventor Tanya Ewing took home the Inventor of the Year and Best Business Idea titles at the tenth annual British Female Inventor and Innovator of the Year Awards in Cardiff for her EWGECO device.

Ewing, who has no formal engineering or product design training, has applied for an international patent for EWGECO. As a dyslexic, she was very keen to develop an easy-to-read traffic-light display for her energy monitoring device.

Ewing said she got the idea for a single device to display how much energy and water a building is using at any moment from her frustration at trying to extract useful information from her utility bills, coupled with her concern for improving energy efficiency.

One of the competition’s judges, Sue Ratcliffe, said: ‘Tanya’s determination in getting her idea turned into a successful product is amazing. She invested £50,000, using her house as security, to get to prototype stage and pay professional advisers, including a patent attorney.

‘In spite of suffering from Lyme disease and giving birth to her first child during the early stages of her business, she still managed to raise £150,000 of development capital and achieve her first sales in just 18 months.’