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Case Study > Green Architecture: Community Heritage Partners, LLC


Green Architecture: Community Heritage Partners, LLC

Community Heritage Partners, LLC retains and renovates existing properties and buildings in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They retain and reuse about 95% of the material already in place. Their green initiative has been taking place for over 25 years. They reuse older materials in everyday projects while also using new green materials as they become available.

Community Heritage Partners, LLC believes that saving and re-using an older property is the first step in saving the countryside and preserving deteriorated urban town centers. This encourages people to live closer to work so they can walk instead of being dependent on environmentally damaging products.

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Community Heritage Partners, LLC
This section provides information about who this firm is, what they do to contribute "green" initiatives to Lancaster County, and why they chose to go green.

Past Projects
This section lists the numerous projects that Community Heritage Partners, LLC has worked on in the past. Projects include those in Lancaster County as well as some that are located up and down the entire east coast. In addition to a list of their projects, some of the main ones have a description as well.

Future Projects
Here is where you can find out what Community Heritage Partners, LLC is going to be doing in the very near future. These projects are located solely in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

What are the benefits of a green building?
In this section you will learn why a green building is more beneficial to the environment than a regular building that is built to code.

Green Building Facts
This section provides you with some facts that you may have not known before about green buildings and their cost to the environment and economy.

How Does "going green" affect the community?
Here you will learn what "going green" does for the community in addition to its environmental effects.

What you can do to initiate green practices in your home or building.
This section provides simple ways in which to can practice "going green" in your home or building. Each practice is a simple one that will enable you to save the environment by practicing green initiatives that you may not have thought about before.

This section briefly recaps Community Heritage Partners, LLC and what they have been doing for the environment for the past 25 years.

Community Heritage Partners, LLC

Who are they?

Community Heritage Partners, LLC is an architecture firm that consists of architects, town planners, preservation consultants, and development advisors. This firm is made up of six employees who were specifically recruited for their commitment to preservation and conservation of towns and urban settings, as well as quality of life, local economies and sustainable planning.

Eugene L. Aleci founded Community Heritage Partners, LLC 34 years ago in 1985. They are based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and do work in Pennsylvania and across the entire east coast.

They develop “architectural, planning, and preservation solutions with value, significance, and substance” in both large and small community settings. Currently they have a number of clients from municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, neighborhood groups, homeowners, museums, and developers.

Community Design Works, Inc is an interrelated but distinct business apart from Community Heritage Partners, LLC. They provide real estate property development, ownership, and management to their clients. The work to find solutions to reinvesting capital into old historic buildings as well as centrally located urban and town centers. Community Design Works, Inc puts projects together, assembles financing and investors, and makes reinvesting funds into these buildings take place. They also operate and mange the many aspects of the buildings to keep them viable, lease able, up-to-date, and fully functioning.

What do they do?

Community Heritage Partners, LLC helps property owners find solutions for buildings that allow their clients to sustain their preferred lifestyle. They are “dedicated to building the vitality of places and reconnecting people with the heritage of their built environment, their communities, and their landscapes” (

The primary focus of their work is to retain and renovate existing properties and buildings that are located within urbanized towns and communities. They do this in order to preserve the older buildings in an effort to re-use and re-purpose them with the goal of creating new and viable places that meet everyday needs now and in the future. Re-vitalizing these places allows for the re-use of older properties instead of plowing up farmland to expand the suburbs.

Community Heritage Partners, LLC has been taking a green initiative for the past 25 years. Preserving and re-using buildings is a major “green” effort in itself. Landfills today consist of 40% of construction refuse. Instead of sending construction materials to landfills, they re-use 95% of the materials already in place. The environmental cost of extracting natural material to initially build has already taken place years ago. The consequences towards the environment is practically nothing because there is no new manufacturing that will take place in terms of environmental energy inputs.

Community Heritage Partners, LLC creates their projects in accordance with the natural environment. They use many large windows that face south while they use smaller and fewer windows that face north. Windows that face south allow for more sunlight to enter a building or home, which allows the home to retain more heat. It is estimated that winter fuel and energy bills can be cut by 30% if there are more south facing windows.

Extra-insulated roofs are also used as well as pitched roofs with rainwater control. These are used to retain water instead of creating what is known as storm water runoff, which adds to public sewerage and water processing demands. Real wood is used for building and is purchased from sustainable plantation sources. They choose real wood over vinyl or other petroleum based products. In all of their projects, Community Heritage Partners, LLC chooses to use natural products for flooring. For example, linoleum is used over vinyl, while like wool and jute are used for carpeting instead of nylon or polyester.

While using and re-using older buildings is the primary focus of Community Heritage Partners, LLC, they also use “green” products as they become available. Any new product that can be used to add to the older products already in use are always purchased and incorporated into the preservation of buildings.

Why they chose to go “green”

Community Heritage Partners, LLC believes that saving and re-using older properties is a huge part in the long-term solution to saving the environment and preserving farmland and naturally open spaces. They also believe that this is apart of revitalizing and restoring the economic capacity of urban town centers, villages, and cities in Pennsylvania and along the east coast. Community Heritage Partners, LLC is one of the few firms who are taking a “green” initiative in every aspect of construction.

Re-creating and restoring town centers encourages people to live closer to their work. This way, people can walk to work, walk to do errands or shopping, children can walk to school, and events can be centrally located. Being able to walk everywhere allows people and families to be less dependent on cars, highways, and other environmentally degrading products.

Community Heritage Partners, LLC believes that their initiatives are a part of changing the course of the last 150 years. They wish to save the earth for future generations by turning away from industrial environmental exploitation through the use of oil-based products, back to the natural systems in which people live more balanced lifestyles while limiting industrial incursions into these natural systems.

Past Projects

Past projects include:

• Stevens and Smith Historical Site: Lancaster, PA
• Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster: Lancaster, PA
• Church of St. John the Baptist: Charleston, SC
• Private Residences: Lancaster, PA
• Bradford City Hall: Bradford, PA
• Groff Store and House: Leola, PA
• Market Square Design Guidelines: Manheim, PA
• New Public Market Plan: Portland, ME
• Orange Street Apartments: Lancaster, PA
• Central Market Design Standards: Lancaster, PA
• Cooper School Feasibility Analysis: Shenandoah, PA
• Columbia Market House: Columbia, PA
• Lancaster-York Heritage Region Plan: Lancaster, PA and York, PA
• Franklin Apartments: Ephrata, PA • Residences at Stevens School: Lancaster, PA
• National House Apartments: York, PA
• Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Properties: Pennsylvania
• New Freedom Train Station: York, PA
• Heritage Center Museum, Lancaster, PA

Stevens and Smith Historical Site: Lancaster, PA

Stevens and Smith Historical Site consists of six historic buildings in downtown Lancaster. These buildings include the house and law office of famous abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. Community Heritage Partners, LLC worked on a number of aspects of the reconstruction of these buildings. Responsibilities included documenting the existing conditions of the building and the design and architectural engineering necessary in stabilizing and restoring those six buildings.

In addition to the buildings, an underground cistern was preserved. Archeologists believe that this cistern was used to hide fugitive slaves. The idea for this project was to recapture Lancaster’s 19th century urban look. The ultimate goal of this project was to create a $20 million educational complex that explored the lives and contributions of Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Hamilton Smith while also capturing the history of public education, civil rights, equality, slavery, the civil war and women’s rights.

Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster County: Lancaster, PA

Community Heritage Partners, LLC was chosen for this project to save the church from demolition. The guided the planning, design, and construction for all of the renovations and additions to the Mennonite church. They designed a new courtyard entrance, vestibule, education wing, and ideas for an elevator.

Groff Store and House: Leola, PA

The Ressler Mill Foundation contacted Community Heritage Partners, LLC with the idea of converting an 1835 farmhouse and general store into a place where people can study milling history and local farming culture. They were able to reconstruct the buildings original fenestration as well as the wrap around porch. Both of these features were lost during remodeling in the twentieth-century.

Complete site and interior reuse plans were developed for the building. A comprehensive rehabilitation program was also developed. Community Heritage Partners, LLC also helped Ressler Mill Foundation in adding the newly renovated property to the National Register of Historic Places.

Columbia Market House: Columbia, PA

The Market House has been owned and operated by the Borough since 1889 and use to be a symbol of community life and a place where farmers from Lancaster and York could go. Today, it is a major component in the Boroughs commitment to strengthen local quality of life as well as creating a new direction for downtown reinvestment and preservation.

Community Heritage Partners, LLC explored the buildings potential for a variety of new uses. These uses were both economically stimulating and necessary in order to keep and create its historic look. Through the help of the borough and the public, they developed an implementation action plan that acts as a guide for the future of the market.

Central Market: Lancaster, PA

Central Market, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was originally built in 1889 and is the oldest public marketplace in the entire United States. Through a variety of expansions and renovations, it has remained the center and foundation of Lancaster City’s economic and cultural importance.

Community Heritage Partners, LLC was chosen by the Friends of Central Market and the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County to take on aspects of this project. They completed a comprehensive Design Standards and Maintenance Recommendations report in collaboration with a team chosen by the above organizations. Through research and site documentation, they were able to identify the markets cultural architectural and cultural features. They then designed a plan to guarantee preservation during future rehabilitation campaigns.

Residences at Stevens School: Lancaster, PA

Community Heritage Partners, LLC turned a vacant public school building into 34 new luxury apartments. Existing building features such as the lobby, corridor, and classrooms were uncovered and restored in accordance with their previous architectural features already in place.

Heritage Display Museum: Lancaster, PA

Community Heritage Partners, LLC designed a gallery to display arts within a Masonic Hall. This was one of Lancaster’s most historic buildings. The interior woodwork was salvaged and reused. The look of this wood replicates how it would have been in the eighteenth-century. Mantelpieces, doors, window woodwork, and a staircase was restored and reconstructed to fit the remodeled design of the building.

Future Projects

Community Heritage Partners, LLC has recently purchased three older buildings on West King Street in downtown Lancaster. They have purchased them with the intention to restore them and convert them into new feasible uses for someone or a business.

One building is being renovated into a new locally owned; owner operated fresh and local foods grocery store. Nothing productive or beneficial to the economy has happened on that street in over 50 years. There are still three upper floors that are currently owned by Community Heritage Partners, LLC but still need to be renovated. Plans for those floors consist of possible residential living spaces or office space.

The next building purchased adjoins the above one. It is a warehouse type building that consists of two floors. The Lancaster Ballet School as well as the offices of CHP and CDW are located in this building as well as on the first and second floors. Office space is being constructed for a relatively new design studio to move into the building. Community Heritage Partners is renovating and reconstructing already existing property to allow more businesses to fit in a building, thus creating a move environmentally building that accommodates many businesses.

Lastly, Community Heritage Partners, LLC bough a building that used to be an old tavern/restaurant. They hope to renovate and restore it and eventually build a new café or restaurant or some type of residential living space.

When the restoration and construction of these buildings is complete, the projects will represent a $2 million to $3 million-dollar investment in Lancaster City that used existing property instead of constructing into the suburbs and natural environment. Through this process, jobs will be created, possible new housing options will be open, and new businesses will have office space.

They are adding value to almost deteriorated buildings that would eventually cost Lancaster City a lot of money and damage the environment during the process.

To find out more information about Community Heritage Partners, LLC, you can visit their website at

What are the benefits of a “green” building?

For starters, a “green” building is one that uses resources such as energy, water, materials, and land in a more efficient way than buildings that are just built to a certain code. Usually they are constructed to meet stated objectives by a company or firm responsible for the construction.

Today, buildings account for one sixth of the world’s water withdrawals, a quarter of its wood harvest, and two fifths of its material and energy flow. Characteristics of a green building tend to be more natural light and a better quality of air. This is why a number of large windows are key in “green” construction.

Conveniently, as the demand for greener buildings rise, the cost to construct them is lowered. States such as Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Washington are leaders in green construction. “Green” buildings provide a number of benefits to people and our natural environment.

• Allow for a reduced cost of gas and electricity due to green construction. This is made possible because environmentally friendly buildings demand less energy than that of a regularly constructed building.

• Green buildings help cut the emissions of pollution from fossil fuels especially in urban areas.

• Green buildings provide work and living environments that create better health, comfort, and an overall better work environment.

• A variety of financial savings are associated with eco-friendly buildings. A company within a building will generate savings on water and energy, the amount of waste will be reduced, and operation and maintenance costs will decline as well.


Siting refers to the area or plot that a building will be constructed on. The first step in “going green” when constructing a building is siting. In order to start the “green” process, it is important to select a plot that is located near public transportation so employees can take advantage of trains or subways to limit emissions into the environment from their own personal methods of transportation.

If a building were already located on the site, the next step would be to preserve the already existing building and reuse what has already been constructed. The damage to the environment from initial construction has already been completed. Re-using what is already in place is one of the greatest green initiatives a constructor can take.

If any plants or trees are going to be planted around the building, those responsible are encouraged to choose plants that require little water and few if any pesticide needs. All of these processes and ideas help create a site that is environmentally friendly from the beginning.


On average, green buildings tend to use 30% less energy than regular conventional buildings. They also have lower energy peak consumptions and are more likely to generate energy on site. Power and electricity is more likely to be purchased from renewable energy sources as well.

Green buildings also tend to be about 28% more efficient than regular buildings as well. In some cases it may be more expensive to “go green” when constructing a building, but the savings that accumulate during the years and in the future equal if not surpass the extra money that is spent on construction. It is estimated that the savings are equivalent to over ten times the average initial investment.

Productivity and health

Studies show that “green” buildings create a higher level of productivity within a business. Productivity is directly related to employee health. Poor indoor environment quality is estimated to cost hundred of billions of dollars a year. People tend to spend 90% of their time indoors, and the number of pollutants inside from conventional buildings is higher than outdoors.

Health is also an attribute of “green” buildings. Employees tend to stay healthier in building environments that are constructed from green initiatives. Emissions tend to be much less and lighting quality is much greater. Green buildings tend to focus on natural light during the day. Shading and fewer glares are also characteristics of “green” buildings that consider natural daylight as the major source of lighting.

Thermal comfort and better ventilation also improve employee health which then improves productivity. “Green” buildings provide a more environmentally friendly option of heating and air conditioning, especially in a building that uses under floor air.

Commissioning is also an important aspect of greener buildings. The monitoring of CO2 emissions is key to ensure performance of all ventilation, heating, and air conditioning systems.

Green Building Facts

• Green building market will more than double by the year 2013. It is estimated to be anywhere between $96-$140 billion by this time.

• By 2013, the market for green buildings will grow from 2% in 2005 to 20-25%.

• Currently, non-green buildings use 72% of all electricity use in the United States of America.

• Education, government, industrial, offices, healthcare, hospitality, and retail are all areas that are expected to see a rise in “green” building initiatives.

• Today, real estate and construction professionals overestimate the cost of “going green” by 300%.

• Green buildings stimulate the economy. Green buildings create a demand for green jobs and workers that wish to contribute to a sustainable life currently and in the future.

• In as short as two years, it is estimated that two million green jobs could be created by the US economy.

How does “going green” affect the community?

Going “green” positively impacts communities is a number of ways. Communities that are impacted the most are those that are located in a lower class area that has been experiencing economic hardships. Usually these communities are located in an urban setting. Parts of Lancaster city and downtown Lancaster could be considered a prime location to see the benefits of going “green” within the community.

For starters, green buildings ensure a sustainable future for children and grandchildren. In order to create a beneficial, healthy, and safe future, a “green” initiative must be taken now. Quality of life improves greatly with just the revitalization of historic and already constructed buildings. Communities benefit because the natural environment and countryside remains untouched when construction is done on buildings already in place. If construction is limited to town centers, villages, and cities, residents of communities are then able to create a life with every aspect included in that one area.

Lives can then be centered on an urban town center because housing, work, school, shopping, and transportation are all essential aspects to life, and are all available within walking distance. It is estimated that the average American citizen spends the equivalent of 55 eight-hour workdays behind the wheel each year. Restoring and reusing buildings within urban settings and communities allows for a large decrease in driving time, and time spent in transportation. Green buildings within the community allow residents to walk or ride a bicycle because of the convenient location of all of their lifestyle needs.

Walking to and from work or school will also provide residents with a greater sense of community because they get to interact socially with those around them. Walking gives community members the opportunity to save the environment as well as meet to people and engage in conversation with those who they may have never met otherwise. If by chance transportation is needed, most cities provide a public for of transportation, which then lessens CO2 emission.

“Going green” within communities also improves the economy. Green buildings and the preservation of older buildings create thousands of jobs in community settings. Unemployment rates will benefit from the increased number of jobs as well as the economy.

Those who work in “green” buildings will eventually save money. This money will be saved because “green” buildings are proven to keep employees and workers healthier than conventional buildings have done. This is due to the many aspects that are considered during construction. If employees are healthier, than they will save money on doctors visits and medication. They will also miss fewer days at work because of illnesses, which could allow an employee working for an hourly wage to accumulate a higher salary throughout the year.

What can you do to initiate green practices in your home or building?

There are many things one person can do to initiate green practices into their home or building. Community Heritage Partners, LLC designs buildings that are environmentally friendly from the very beginning of construction, but green practices can be implemented in and around an already built home, business, or building.

• When using paint or finishing elements for the interior of a house or building, use products with a low level of volatile organic compounds or products that have none of these compounds included.

• When looking for new carpeting, look at products that are certified by the Green Label Plus or are made out of recycled content.

• When replacing carpet with wood floors, look for wood that is FSC certified. This wood comes from sustainable forests.

• Install a rainwater collection system. Gather and store the rainwater so it can be used as needs. Big barrels or trashcans are examples of products that can be placed at the end of a gutter and used for rainwater collection.

• Use fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent ones. These save money while also saving electricity.

• Caulk leaky doors and windows. When the cool weather arrives it is important to walk around a home or business and check for leaks or drafts. These leaks and drafts create heat loss, which makes any heating system use more energy to keep a building warm.

• Install a low-flow toilet. Toilets usually use the most amount of water in a home; some use five to seven gallons of water per flush. By installing a low-flow toilet you are cutting back on water use.

• Install a low-flow showerhead. There are even some showerheads that include a button that a person can press to turn of the water when it is not in use. This saves money and is better for the environment.

• Replace old household appliances with Energy Star rated ones. These products are rated the highest for energy efficiency.


Community Heritage Partners, LLC has shaped a business around green practices and strive every day to save our environment. While they have been practicing this for over 25 years, it is still possible for you to take initiative as well. Listed on this page are just a few of the thousands of simple ways in which you can go green at your home or business. It is never too late to start changing the course of the last 150 years. You can refer to any of the references on this page to find out more information on green initiative all over the United States. Going green in your home or business is a simple and rewarding process that can save our communities, our environment, and ourselves.



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