International Wastewater Systems Inc. is a world leader in thermal heat recovery. IWS systems recycle thermal energy from wastewater, generating the most energy efficient and economical systems for heating, cooling & hot water for commercial, residential and industrial buildings. They were recently awarded a £4.95 Million grant to install SHARC ™ wastewater heat recovery systems in 5 different locations throughout Scotland.
We spoke with CEO and President, Lynn Mueller.
ProspectSV: Can you tell us a little about your background?
Lynn: I have a “lifetime degree” in heating, ac and the renewable energy business. When I was younger I used to go up to the Artic and fix refrigeration. I’d fix fish freezers for Eskimos. It was from that experience I saw global warming first hand… those places in the Arctic are now underwater. I love the outdoors and the North, so I’m an environmentalist which has led me into the energy efficiency business. Specifically heat pump and space conditioning business.
ProspectSV: And how are you applying that now?
Lynn: I’m the head of geo-heat manufacturing company. My personal view is to move heat instead of creating it. Rather than have a boiler onsite, why not capture that heat somehow?
I decided to get into the geo thermal heat pump business because my hot water bill was enormous with my family. There’s a lot of energy available in the sewer lines, in fact in the US there’s 40 billion dollars wasted every year. With my motivation and background, I’ve become a quasi-inventor. I have over 500 patents and invented the PIRANHA ™ and SHARC ™.
ProspectSV: We noticed that the Andina Brewery (in Vancouver) just installed your PIRANHA ™ heat pump. Can you tell us about that?
Lynn: That was labor of love. We know the brew master and noticed they use 8x more water to flush stuff and clean than making beer. So we asked them, “Why don’t you reuse the water?” Now they don’t discharge the energy when using water.
ProspectSV: And can you describe the PIRANHA ™ a bit more?
Lynn: It works just like your refrigerator. There’s a direct refrigeration process where the incoming warm wastewater provides the refrigeration circuit to output hot domestic water. Take the heat that would have gone down the drain, and by means of refrigerant, recover the energy. 500% efficiency. Every dollar you spend get $5 back. The energy stays, don’t have to restart.
ProspectSV: And a little more about your company?
Lynn: We’re a sustainable company inside and out. We help pay of the education of our employees’ children. We’re a multi-generational company. My youngest daughter wants to be involved. We like to think of ourselves as a progressive company.
We originally thought we were going to be a little local company. The first job we did was written up in the National Geographic. Now we have offices around the world. We’re growing at a phenomenal rate.
ProspectSV: Tell us about being a client at Prospect Silicon Valley.
Lynn: Being associated with Prospect Silicon Valley has been great because all of the people are in tune to where the world is going… connectivity, driverless cars. It opened my eyes to the possibility out there and gave me great ideas.
When I went to the SF Construction Association meeting last year there was a topic that motivated me to think beyond “70 degrees for comfort.” You can use predictive analytics instead of worrying about that time of day. You think of the yearly cycle and you can really manage it. Same with energy – you just manage it. Came out that meeting energized! Imagine what thermostats could do. It’s been a wonderful association with you guys at ProspectSV.