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Schools across HRM will gradually be switched to natural gas to save money. (CBC)

More than 26 schools in the Halifax Regional School Board are about to switch to natural gas heating systems. Nova Scotia is spending $34 million on the energy retrofits.

On top of the heating switch, most schools in Halifax will have lighting systems replaced and improved meters to monitor energy use.

The upgrades are supposed to save the school board about $2.3 million a year in energy and maintenance costs.

In a release, the province said greenhouse gas emissions will drop by about 20 per cent – the equivalent of saving 36,000 trees.

A total of 90 schools will see changes as the result of the retrofit.

Lesson in the changes

"But I also think the really key element is that we're going to be teaching students," said Carole Olsen, deputy minister of education.

As part of the upgrades large flat-screen monitors will be set up in the foyers of each school. They'll display how much energy the school is consuming.

Nicola Doelle, a student at Gorsebrook Junior High, likes the idea.

"Then we can see how much we're using and try to keep it down," she said.