Joulia is the Startup of the Week 3: Shower with heat recovery

Energy Efficiency and Environment

A sustainable shower? Maybe not the first thing you’d expect from a Startup of the Week. But the Swiss startup Joulia has implemented just that and has won multiple awards for its solution. We wanted to learn more about what the sustainable shower experience is all about. To do so, we caught up with CEO Reto Schmid in an interview.

Hello Reto! Nice of you to take time for us today. How would you pitch Joulia in one sentence?

Instead of flushing the valuable heat of the shower water down the drain, Joulia’s shower channels recover this energy and easily ensure sustainable showering enjoyment with full comfort.

How did you implement that?

In Joulia-Inline and Joulia-Twinline, the fresh cold water is fed into the heat exchanger, which is located directly in the shower channel, and over which the warm shower water flows.

This simple detour of the cold water line allows the energy of the outflowing shower water to be recovered where it accumulates. Neither complex components nor a control system is necessary for this highly efficient type of heat recovery.

We heat the cold water from 10°C to up to 25°C and reaches the shower mixer already preheated. Consequently, less hot water needs to be added there, which saves a lot of energy, CO2, and money. Due to the highly efficient design, Joulia-Inline can recover over 40% and Joulia-Twinline over 60% of the otherwise lost heat.

What other advantages does your approach offer?

Our design complies with the strict drinking water guidelines of KIWA, SVGW, WRAS & DVGW. In addition, the installation is simple and permanently reliable. 

The shower channels do not need electricity and with their double separation between fresh and wastewater, they have a high degree of safety.

We have received over 15 national and international awards for the idea, high efficiency, and easy handling. A nice recognition for our work.

What is your business model for this?

We offer our products to both sanitary companies, wholesalers, and resellers. Our heat exchangers are also distributed as OEM products by business partners, such as in Corian shower trays. Depending on the distribution channel, quantity, and target market, different pricing strategies exist. Currently, we are working together with specialists on the development of cleaning products and accessories.

Where are your shower channels used? Who is your target group?

At present, half of our business is in Switzerland and the other half is international. In Switzerland, we sell our products directly to plumbers, to sanitary wholesalers such as SABAG, Richner, the Bringhen Group, and HUG-Baustoffe, as well as to project-specific general contractors. Our products are used in the private, public, and semi-public sectors. In addition to bathroom conversions, the focus is on new buildings. 

Interesting are also places where many people meet few shower places, be it fitness centers, sports facilities, gyms, gymnasiums, and hotels. Increasingly, school facilities and employee showers of companies are also equipped with the Joulia shower channels.

Exports are becoming increasingly important. The strongest growth is currently in the Netherlands, where a local distributor sells our products. 

The following countries are also under development: Belgium, Japan, Faroe Islands, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Swaziland, and South Africa.

What phase are you currently in?

We are currently growing both nationally and internationally. In recent years, we have been able to equip more than 3,500 bathrooms with the WRG, and the trend is rising sharply. Thanks to a new strategic partnership, we are now continuing our internationalization and investing in further product development.

New markets sometimes require some time, as drinking water regulations are nationally regulated. So far we have the following certifications: SVGW (CH), KIWA (NL), WRAS (UK) , DVWG (DE). In process are Belgaqua (BEL) and Solarimpulse.

In the field of building labels, you can credit our products to Minergie as well as MUKEN. Looking ahead, other labels will be added, such as Passivhaus.

We look forward to all customers helping us with the goal of saving energy every day.


Reto, thank you very much for this exciting interview! We wish you continued success in the future.

If you want to know more about Joulia, you can read their profile in our network.