Development of SMART Schools

Read about Bill’s  year in review:

In the fall of 2014, Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean challenged schools across Montana to Save Money and Resources Today by enrolling in the SMART Schools Challenge.  The response was astounding as 46 schools from across Montana joined a friendly competition to save money by mitigating their environmental footprints. Schools from Glendive to West Yellowstone worked to reduce their energy consumption, recycle and implement “green” practices.

During the Challenge’s pilot year, Montana’s SMART Schools recycled more than 62,000 pounds of waste, saved over $100,000 through energy conservation, and offset 123 metric tons of CO2 equivalent through recycling efforts alone. Montana Schools’ incredible efforts received national recognition as General Electric and National Lieutenant Governors Association honored the SMART Schools program by naming Lieutenant Governor McLean the 2015 Public Leader in Energy and Environmental Stewardship.


On Earth Day 2015, Lieutenant Governor McLean announced 13 champion SMART Schools. These leaders in Montana resource conservation were selected as champions in SMART recycling, SMART Energy, or SMART Green schools, according to student body size. A selection committee comprised of representatives from the Governor’s Office, Department of Environmental Quality, and Montana chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council was tasked with identifying the champion schools listed below.

SMART Recycling Champions                                        SMART Energy Champions

   · Billings Career Center                                                    · Castle Rock Middle School-Billings

·  Jefferson School-Glendive                                             · Broadwater Elementary-Billings

   · Central School-Roundup                                                  · Sweet Grass County High School

· Sand Springs School                                                               · Seeley-Swan High School

SMART Green Schools Champions                                                   SMART Leader in Renewable Energy

          · Hellgate High School-Missoula                                            · Capital High School-Helena

· Sleeping Giant Middle School-Livingston

· Red Lodge High School

· Seeley Lake Elementary

As the SMART Schools team looks towards the future, we cannot help but be excited. Schools across Montana bought into the SMART School’s message of saving money through resource conservation. Additionally, schools are beginning to utilize their peer’s experience to guide their sustainability initiative, as SMART Schools develops into a network to promote the spread of innovative ideas and best practices.congrats smart schools

We Need Your Help

Next year, SMART Schools anticipates working with even more schools, providing these schools with better resources, and doing more to promote collaborations among Montana schools. Engaging and utilizing the Americorps network will be crucial for this aim. Americorps members are serving in schools across Montana. Members are connected with student green teams, environmentally conscious teachers, and facilities directors trying to save the district money by reducing their school’s energy consumption. SMART Schools would like to ask the Americorps members of Montana to help us enroll their schools in the SMART Schools Challenge

Joining the SMART Schools Challenge will allow your school to join an established network of likeminded schools, receive free technical assistance from DEQ, be assigned a volunteer mentor through the US Green Building Council, and be eligible for cash prizes. Please contact Bill at for additional information on how SMART Schools Challenge can assist your school.

DSC_0471Bill Pedersen graduated from Hamilton College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. He spent last year as an Energy Corps Member serving with the Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia. During his time with ECA, he helped conduct energy audits on low income homes, presented at community energy awareness events and taught at ECA’s Green Jobs Training Center. Bill is serving at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality this year, launching the Governor’s Smart School Initiative.

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