A technological solutions to recover heat from shower waste water in homes.
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The Story of Joulia Dusche Switzerland
Joulia shower SA is an independent stock company, founded on 1. July 2010 after a three year period in which a group of people working at Creaholic experimented and tested different technological solutions to recover heat from shower waste water in their own homes.
Creaholic was founded in 1986 by Elmar Mock, one of the inventors of the Swatch. His vision was to establish a team of creative and technically minded individuals with the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to deliver ground breaking projects. It took almost two years after that before the first solutions could be bought from the shelf. The heat recovering shower tray has been available on the market since September 2012. The cold water is routed on the underside of a special aluminium shower tray, and thus achieves very efficient heat recovery. A second more flexible and adaptable solution came into existence in 2015.
Joulia Dusche consists of an interdisciplinary project team, composed of engineers, designers, sanitary- and energy specialists. Initial activities were aimed at developing, marketing and refining the product. And the initial partners for the team was the old network of Creaholic.
In the beginning the idea was that the product has to be sold by referrals, but this did not work well because the value proposition was not clear yet and these resellers did not fully understand what they had to sell. So the Joulia Dusche people did the selling themselves. In 2015 however, when the second round of development took place a new partnership with Laufen bathrooms was formed. This offered the possibility to sell the product or licence directly to the sanitary manufacturers which get in touch with the end customers. So from a B2C company, Joulia Dusche changed into a B2B2C company, using a retailer. So in the beginning the clients were mostly end-customers, but in time the real clients became the installers, the bathroom showrooms etc. the channels that Joulia Dusche is using to reach its clients consist of trade shows, fairs, magazines etc.
In terms of competitors, there are other companies, but the difference with these is that often their technology is a black box (not in the bathroom, but somewhere in the pipe systems of the house), and is not certified.
Joulia Dusche did not receive any financial support but it did win the Design Preis Schweiz 2015/16 in the category Investment goods saving up to 1,000 kWh per year in a 4-person household.
The cost and revenue system is very product focused. The revenue system is based on a one-off transaction.
The value proposition of Joulia Dusche is focused at different levels: the company wants to develop a solutions which is “In-line with your cold water supply. In-line with an energy-efficient future. Inline with your personal needs.” In other words, a solution which is ecologically sound, which makes economic sense and wins over the planners as well as the craftsmen on the construction site. In the beginning the solution was a one size solution, but Joulia Dusche received many requests asking whether they could make Joulia products that could fit various sizes of shower areas and various situations. In response to this clear demand Joulia Dusche developed a second version.
In terms of sensing user needs, Joulia Dusche went all the way. They explicitly asked for feedback at trade shows, product presentations, from plumbing schools, during building site visits and more, and of course they tested the product at their own homes. In reaction to this feedback they developed a new technology: more flexible, for renovation as well, less expensive.
In terms of conceptualising the team is also effective, it took the feedback and designed the required much more tailorable solution.
Orchestration is not fully developed, although the partnership with the bathroom manufacturer, and the move from a B2C to a B2B2C company form is a step towards orchestration, or more specifically of becoming orchestrated.
As part of the orchestration skill of course Joulia is demonstrating clear capacity to work with the other context stakeholders and factors such as potable water regulations and certification. Joulia Dusche has the ambition to not be a product seller, but a competence centre for drain water heat recycling, working with patents, licensing etc. Joulia Dusche is still very much a technology developing company. Stretching and scaling are skills that need further development.
Joulia Dusche is clearly battling with the context and its stakeholders. A first hurdle for them is certification, which is important because drinking water is concerned. But getting certification is difficult. It worked in Switzerland now, but is difficult to get in various countries because lack of harmonisation between laws. The value proposed by Julia Dusche furthermore is not yet recognised as value by multiple relevant stakeholders. Their value being “have a shower, use less energy, but have the same (or more) comfort”. Especially the combination with saving energy is new, because the most Business models out there try to save water and not to recover heat. So, the sanitary industry is rather passive at the moment. They are not yet convinced of the potential of heat recovery (rather they try to save water than recover heat). Customers using the showers are also not expressing a clear need for heat recovery when showering either.
They do not experience a problem and consequently there is no natural demand for the product. In Switzerland this partly has to do with the low energy price, and a lack of clear insight in the cost of heating water. Joulia Dusche is expecting this to change for the new homes to be build which require less heating and for which the costs for hot water are going to be proportionally higher.
Joulia Dusche summarised the above as follows: “Since the Joulia company is active in a new field and is considered as a unique solution, many actors (SFOE, energy consultants, the programme for competitive tenders ProKilowatt), that could provide federal support to this technology feel it's too early to support it because is could lead to market distortion, although there is no market competition yet."