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.
Jim Bererton, who heads consulting engineer Stantec’s sustainability practice in Calgary, Alberta, brought in the SpiderPlow for a Walmart store under construction in Burlington, Ontario. With 15 km of tubing buried under the front parking lot, the 135,000-sq-ft building is the country’s first big-box store to go geothermal, according to Walmart. It opened in January and is 60% more energy-efficient than typical stores.