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Photo provided by Tonya Lowentritt --Members of Southeastern Louisiana University’s physical plant staff display the Operational Excellence Champion Award presented by the Louisiana Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council for the university’s Sustainability Center. Pictured, from left, are Physical Plant Director Byron Patterson; Carlos Doolittle, manager of grounds, landscape and recycling; Assistant Director Mark Whitmar; and Associate Director Chris Aspiron.

The Louisiana chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the Operational Excellence Champion Award to the Southeastern Louisiana University Sustainability Center.

Southeastern physical plant director Byron Patterson accepted the award on behalf of his team for its efforts to make the campus as energy efficient as possible, a news release said.

The university was honored for its energy-efficient, money-saving technologies. The Sustainability Center helps provide education for students in energy, mechanical and construction engineering technology.

The center includes solar panels on some university buildings that generate hot water and electricity; a recycling program to reduce waste going to landfills by 80 percent; a tree and plant farm for landscaping on campus; a composting area; and rainwater retention ponds to help irrigate plants and support a geothermal system for one of the center’s classrooms.