November 19, 2008
Contact: Jamie Arehart (267-350-7699)

La Comunidad Hispana's New Home: Building Green

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

KENNET SQUARE-La Comunidad Hispana (LCH) began pursuing the coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for its new building, which will open its doors this spring.

"LCH hopes to be the first non-profit organization in Chester County to receive LEED certification," said Executive Director Margarita Queralt Mirkil, "although that depends on when other buildings that are also registered receive the official status." LEED certification is a voluntary, consensus-based national certification system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. "More building professionals, owners and operators are seeing the benefits of green-building and LEED certification," said Mirkil.

LCH serves over 7,000 patients, most of which are vulnerable Latino residents in Chester County. The new building, which will be located at 731 West Cypress Street in Kennett Square, will house the 22 staff members who work serving the community in the health care center and as part of the resource and education and social services departments. This new building will house all the agency's services and the administrative department under one roof for the first time since 2003. "We are all very excited about the move and the opportunity to work as one integrated agency."

LEED buildings deliver significant savings in energy, water and other key consumption figures. Average LEED energy use is 25-30% more efficient, for example, LCH anticipates achieving that level. LCH's use of a geothermal HVAC system will assure both energy conservation and greater efficiency.

Mirkil explains, "We know that buildings fundamentally impact people's lives and the health of the planet and we as a public health provider are committed to making a positive impact on the health of our community and environment by constructing a green building."

LCH's new facility, which is currently under construction, will incorporate systems that use approximately 25% less energy and 30% less water and will emphasize the use of sustainable and recycled products. "Our goal during construction is to send 75% of all waste to certified recycling companies instead of a landfill and La Comunidad Hispana will contract with our local energy provider to purchase 35% or more of the building's power for green generated energy providers such as wind turbine and solar," stated Mirkil.

Construction of the building began in July of 2008 and is projected to end in late April of 2009.

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About La Comunidad Hispana
La Comunidad Hispana (LCH) is a community-based nonprofit organization that provides services to the Latino community and other vulnerable residents in Chester County. Its mission is to improve the quality of life, health and well being of low-income Latinos and other under-served groups through advocacy and bilingual programs in health care, education, and social services. LCH is a culturally competent, bilingual, bicultural agency that reflects the community served. LCH was established in 1973 and became an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation in 2004.

LCH is located at 314-316 E. State Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348. For more information on LCH and its programs, please visit or call 610-444-4545.

About PHMC
The Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, business and other community-based organizations. It fulfills its mission to improve the health of the community by providing outreach, health promotion, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services. PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972.