Showers with heat recovery: Joulia

Joulia Energieeffiziente Duschtechnik mit Wärmerückgewinnung
© Symbolbild: CRNA

Joulia AG wants to put an end to wasting energy in the shower. The company has developed an innovative heat exchanger for showers that recovers the heat energy from used water. With the heat exchanger from Joulia AG, consumers can save energy costs, increase their energy efficiency and counteract global warming.

With this innovation, the company is supporting SDG7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, SDG12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, and SDG13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. In particular, the following two sub-goals are addressed: 7.1: “By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services” and 12.2: “By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources”.

What social challenges does Joulia address?

Reducing energy consumption is not only important due to global warming, but also addresses the energy shortage in Switzerland, as emphasized by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). According to the SFOE, almost 50 % of Switzerland’s primary energy consumption is used for buildings. In buildings, on the other hand, heating and hot water in particular are among the energy drivers. These two drivers already require the same amount of energy in modern residential buildings.

Business Sustainability Today - Joulia

However, the potential for energy efficiency in hot water recovery is hardly realized. Up to 80 % of hot water in the household is used for showers alone, where it literally flows down the drain again after two seconds. In contrast, there are already many measures to increase energy efficiency in order to maintain room heating. Examples include improved thermal insulation of building shells and triple glazing in windows.

What is the solution?

Instead of flushing the heat from the shower water down the drain, the Joulia heat exchanger recovers the energy and ensures greater efficiency with less energy consumption. The Joulia heat exchanger is integrated into the shower floor and is not visible from the outside. It also works without electricity and ensures a clear separation between fresh water and waste water. This is how it works:

The heat exchanger only extracts the heat energy from the wastewater; the used water still flows directly into the sewer system. The heat energy gained preheats the cold fresh water and after just 10 seconds the heat is back at the shower mixer. Consumers use up to 60 % less energy without having to compromise on the warmth or length of their shower.

What are the challenges?

Initially, the challenges lay in achieving high efficiency in heat recovery and certifying the product. Today, the challenges lie more in publicizing the innovation on the market and creating awareness that heat recovery can make a significant contribution to energy-efficient buildings.

What are the results (impact)?

Joulia recovers as much energy as 8 m² of solar cells (PV) produce per year. The energy savings lead to annual savings of approx. 1,000 kWh in a 4-person household. This means that consumers with heat recovery have lower ongoing energy costs. Depending on the shower channel model, it takes around 3-5 years for the additional costs of a shower with heat recovery to be amortized.

What is Joulia AG’s vision?

Joulia’s vision is for showers with heat recovery to become the new standard. Economically, the company also aims to further establish its sales market in Switzerland and the Netherlands over the next five years and to expand into other European countries.

Can the solution be multiplied and scaled?

The solution is scalable and multipliable, as the company not only wants to sell showers with heat recovery itself, but also supplies the heat exchangers to partners who sell them on. This gives Joulia a great deal of leverage to ultimately reduce energy consumption in water heating.