The high cost of underground work needed to install geothermal tubing is inspiring some installers to develop cheaper alternatives. One unusual machine, called a SpiderPlow, is gaining traction in Canada. + image Illustration: Spiderplow Services Inc. A crawler rig, anchored 6 ft into the ground, reels a special cable that pulls the plow, which can handle 24-in.-dia. pipe and 9.5-ft depths. Related Links: As More Buildings Go Geothermal, Project Teams Are Thinking Outside the Borehole Union Jumps On Geothermal Bandwagon Jim Bererton, who heads consulting engineer Stantec’s sustainability practice in Calgary, Alberta, brought in the SpiderPlow for a Walmart store
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.