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Interview with Lucie Andlauer of Subterra Renewables

Lucie Andlauer is CEO of Subterra Renewables, a Toronto-based company which takes geothermal energy beyond the installation step.

1. What does Subterra do?

Subterra invests in the renewable energy efforts of our clients and enables them to build socially conscious developments. We build, own, and operate geothermal energy systems to provide 24/7 clean, renewable energy and ultimately replace conventional systems. Subterra works with our clients to enable them to meet future sustainability and energy efficiency requirements. Our goal is to simplify going green. Our geothermal systems offset natural gas consumption by making the building reliant on electricity, with an overall more efficient system as a result of utilizing the ground over traditional mechanical equipment. Subterra coordinates closely with the consultant teams of buildings in order to customize a system in accordance with the trifecta (customer, client, and environment).

2. Can you explain a little more the range of services you provide? 

Subterra Renewables specialises in geothermal heating and cooling systems for multi-residential and commercial buildings. These systems exchange heat with the earth below the building to create a thermal storage battery that discharges when the building needs heat in the winter and recharges when the building needs to shed heat in the summer.

We offer an end to end design and installation service as well as an ‘Energy as a Service’ utility program where we invest in the renewable energy asset to remove the barrier of initial capital investment. The following is the complete list of services offered by Subterra:

System design (engineering)

Energy as-a service

Complete geothermal system installation owned by Subterra at no upfront cost to the developer in exchange for an ongoing monthly renewable energy fee.


Complete geothermal system financed and owned by the building owner; operations, maintenance, and ongoing reporting can be provided by Subterra.

System Acquisition

Acquisition of existing/operating geothermal assets and/or portfolios.

Geothermal Drilling

Complete drilling services for vertical borehole drilling for depths below 600’ – 900’ +

Shoring & Earth Retention

Variety of services related to the early stages of projects that can be arranged in succession with geothermal drilling.

Test Hole and Thermal Conductivity Testing

We can drill test holes and have thermal conductivity testing equipment to analyze test holes and project feedback prior to finalizing a design.

3. Does Subterra effectively act as a utility?

Yes – because we own, operate, and maintain the system. By doing so, we can charge an all-inclusive renewables energy fee.

4. With a new project, who do you deal with to consider using geothermal?

We get approached by the main proponents in the development community, namely architects, developers, and construction managers etc.

5. Is it practical to say that a system like yours could replace fossil fuels for heating most buildings?

Absolutely, geothermal can offset all-natural gas in buildings. In practicality, many engineers prefer to have a small component of the building connected to natural gas and domestic hot water. We are actively trying to make the switch to go green entirely.