Schools set to study energy usage with smart sensors

Print Article

Whitefish Schools is planning to take a high-tech approach to examining its energy usage and sustainability measures.

The Whitefish School Board on March 13 approved a three-year contract with Buddy Ohm, a mechanical monitoring service that is expected to provide real-time feedback on both energy usage and sustainability measures in the new Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship as well as Muldown Elementary and the Whitefish middle and high schools. There is no cost to the district for the service.

District Director of Curriculum Ryder Delaloye said the partnership will allow the district to better track and adhere to its sustainability goals.

“This is a mechanism by which we can get a read on the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship in terms of the energy use, resource consumption, temperature and so forth. And basically through these sensors, transform the facility into a smart building,” Delaloye said. “It’s a moment-by-moment responsive system.”

The Ohm is a set of building sensors and an accompanying dashboard that will provide building data on different energy measurements. Buddy, the parent company of the Ohm technology, also provides software enabling administrators and facility staff to examine and review the data collected by the sensors.

Buddy is based in Australia and has a U.S. office in Seattle.

Delaloye said when the district and Buddy first began exploring a partnership, Buddy was enthusiastic and eager to offer a discount to Whitefish Schools.

As the sustainability center gained more national attention and sustainability practices became a mainstay in the district’s future plans, the two decided on a service-for-service agreement at no cost to Whitefish schools.

Buddy will install its software in the district’s four buildings and offer their services, and in return the district will work with Buddy to develop promotional materials about Whitefish’s experience with the technologies.

The sustainability center will also be a host to conferences, seminars and other learning experiences for others interested in what the district and Buddy are doing.

Programming initiatives with students, including internships and work with FREEFLOW students, were mentioned as part of the agreement.

For Delaloye, the ability to monitor energy usage helps keep the schools on track with their goals and show how behavior change can create a more sustainable district.

“When we started to look at the scope of the contract, it seems like there’s a lot there. But what we realized is that’s an accountability measure for us to accomplish what our sustainability goals are,” he said. “It’s often difficult to change behavior. It’s because we can’t see how that behavior is occurring directly and immediately. This dashboard, these sensors can help adjust that.”

Trustee Marguerite Kaminski liked the proposal, but asked what happens if the partnership isn’t as ideal as it now seems and the district has to leave the contract.

“The only thing they have asked if we do break this contract amicably for any reason, is that we return the hardware,” Delaloye said.

As to the district’s obligations in the partnership, Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt said most of the promotional videos and articles they’ll be creating would have been a part of the project anyway.

“We are really excited about this opportunity,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anything in here that we weren’t already going to do.”

Print Article

Read More Schools

Whitefish School District releases fall adult education offerings

October 16, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Whitefish Pilot Whitefish Schools will offer 10 different courses in the new Adult Education Program beginning this fall. The first classes begin Oct. 22. Courses are offered in the areas of computer literacy wit...


Read More

Whitefish students use Muldown project as outdoor classroom

October 09, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Whitefish Pilot The construction of a new Muldown Elementary School building is serving as a teaching moment for students both young and old. As part of Construction Week — a collaboration between the Montana Contr...


Read More

Blackfeet dancers bring lessons, friendship to Olney-Bissell School

October 02, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Whitefish Pilot A group joined hands forming a large circle filling the Olney-Bissell School gymnasium Thursday morning. When the drums began playing, they dipped their bodies up and down together while staying link...


Read More

Officials ride school bus to look at safety issues

October 02, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Whitefish Pilot The Whitefish School Board trustees got to see things from the student’s point of view last week — from the seat of a school bus. The board held its work session at Rocky Mountain Transportation on ...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2018 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy