Assistant Vice President for the Facilities and Sustainability departments, Helene Loiselle, will retire this month. During her 10 year tenure, Helene oversaw the construction of six new buildings and she managed the sustainability office, plant operations, grounds and custodial departments and all of the maintenance of Valencia’s existing facilities.
Beginning in 2005, she fostered the development of Valencia’s , which went on to design and implement the Sustainability Across the Curriculum course, which now has 40 graduates. Sustainability Committee members spearhead interactive environmental projects, such as creating bird boxes, bat houses and butterfly gardens on West and Osceola campuses.
In 2006, Helene led the initiative for Valencia to build all new buildings to LEED standards. Valencia has three LEED Gold buildings on West Campus and we were one of the first institutions to meet that standard in Central Florida. The newest buildings on West and Lake Nona Campuses have been certified as Three Green Globes, the equivalent of LEED Gold and Osceola Campus Building 4 anticipates LEED Gold certification.
During this time she also worked with custodial staff to implement “green cleaning”, a method of cleaning that emphasizes the use of natural, environmentally friendly products and waste-reducing procedures.
Working with the Grounds Department, Helene converted most of the college’s St. Augustine turfgrass to unirrigated Bahia grass that eliminated the need for fertilizer and pesticides. This project eliminated water waste from irrigation and resulted in improved water quality for West Campus’ Lake Pamela and East Campus’ Little Econ River. She has also hired landscape architects to design master plans for the campuses featuring native plants which have helped to foster wildlife habitat.
Because of Helene’s commitment to energy efficiency and her collaborative efforts with colleagues Robert Hickman, Winsome Bennett and other staff, Valencia has saved millions of dollars each year with equipment upgrades and building automation systems. She also initiated the Energy Education program led by Patti Riva, which brings additional savings.
Valencia is increasingly receiving national recognition for its energy efficiency and other sustainability efforts, and we are grateful for the commitment Helene has brought with her to the College each day.