03/14/2015 02:19 EDT | Updated 05/14/2015 05:59 EDT

English Montreal School Board aims to cut energy consumption

The English Montreal School Board is undergoing close to $25 million in renovations in a bid to save energy — and money.

The lights and heating systems of 17 schools will be replaced as part of a new program announced Friday.

Some EMSB schools were built close to a century ago, and some, like John F. Kennedy, Roslyn and Royal West, still use their original boilers.

Jean-Philippe Hardy, an engineering consultant with Montreal-based Énergère, said the plan is to get rid of inefficient central heating systems.

"You will have an automated control system that will not only control the production of heat in the boiler plant and the production of water through the radiators in the buildings, but also local controls in the rooms," he said.

More than 25,000 lights will also be replaced with LED technology.

The changes are expected to reduce energy consumption by 53 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions by 74 per cent in the schools.

Some of the work has already started and the EMSB says the upgrades should be complete by the end of the year.

EMSB chairwoman Angela Mancini said the changes will eventually provide the school board with "important savings that will allow us to increase and improve services to students."

Savings are projected to reach more than $1 million a year once all the measures are in place.

The EMSB estimates the initial investment will be paid off in 14 years, taking into account $9.9 in corporate and government grants.