Green Building Tour: Center for Neighborhood Technology

Center for Neighborhood TechnologyPhoto Credit: Center for Neighborhood TechnologyThis installment of the Green Building Tour brings us to another LEED Platinum building, and the second LEED Platinum building in Chicago. Not only is this project an excellent example of sustainable building design, but the mission that it serves, with the Center for Neighborhood Technology, is also a very green- oriented endeavor.

"Since 1978, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) has worked to show urban communities locally and all across the country how to develop more sustainably. With smarts, creativity and innovation, and before the term sustainable development was even widely used, CNT has been demonstrating its unique brand of sustainable development: development that is good for the economy and the environment; makes better use of existing resources and community assets; and improves the health of natural systems and the wealth of people—today and in the future."

Pairing such an organization with a building at the cutting edge of sustainability is a natural combination. Re-use of an existing building, rather than building a new facility is an excellent sustainable step, and a vital element in this green project.

Center for Neighborhood TechnologyImage Source: Center for Neighborhood TechnologyThe CNT building website offers an excellent overview of the number of steps taken to get the building LEED certified. The Green Building Renovation Virtual Tour highlights sustainable features in six categories: Site, Energy, Water, Materials, Light & Air, and Innovation. The building has many of the usual and familiar steps in green building: renewable carpet, salvaged material use, and construction waste recycling, large skylights, operable windows, low VOC finishes, low-flow fixtures, efficient appliances, and rooftop photovoltaic solar panels.
Center for Neighborhood TechnologyImage Credit: Center for Neighborhood Technology
Some of the more uncommon features include a "cooling garden" with trees to shade the building and reduce the need for summertime cooling. The building also has a minimum number of parking spaces (and a permeable surface parking lot) and abundant bicycle storage space and shower facilities to encourage bike commuters.

Center for Neighborhood TechnologyPhoto Credit: Center for Neighborhood TechnologyAn ice ball thermal storage system is probably the most radical and interesting ideas in the building. The insulated tank (pictured, before installation) is buried underground next to the building. "In an underground tank, water-filled balls are frozen at night, using off-peak, lower cost energy. During higher-cost hours, a food-grade, glycol-based fluid transfers the chill from the ice balls to the building's cooling system." Because of the increased energy loads in office spaces as compared to single-family homes, in many cases cooling is needed much more than heating. Making ice during off-peak hours to be able to run the cooling system when it is needed during the day is a great way to use energy more efficiently. Burying the tank in the ground is an excellent step to further improve its efficiency by taking advantage of the steady earth temperatures which are found underground.

Building Information:
Location: Chicago IL
Architect: Jonathan Boyer (Farr Associates)
LEED-NC 2.0 Commercial Office, Platinum Rating

Center for Neighborhood Technology
CNT Virtual Tour

via: GreenBean

Carpal tunnel surgeon hit with $300K verdict in Baltimore City Circuit Court

The Daily Record (Baltimore) March 16, 2009 | Brendan Kearney A Baltimore jury has awarded $300,000 to an Essex woman who was the victim of a botched carpal tunnel syndrome release surgery in September 2004.

The panel found in favor of Sophia Pappas, a 53-year-old former housekeeper and factory worker, and against Dr. Naresh Khanna, Pappas’ longtime primary care physician, after a four-day trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Wendy L. Shiff, Pappas’ attorney, said she received no offer to settle the case and that she and her client are “very pleased with the outcome.” Shiff is with Salsbury, Clements, Bekman, Marder & Adkins LLC in Baltimore.

Defense attorney Charles I. Joseph said Shiff asked the jury for $1 million and put on evidence to suggest even greater damages, but ended up with “certainly a lot less than what [the plaintiff] had hoped for.” “It’s clear from the number that [the jurors] felt Ms. Pappas was exaggerating her injuries,” Joseph said.

Unknown origin Khanna is a general surgeon with privileges at Maryland General Hospital, where he twice operated on Pappas. He also maintained a primary care practice in Essex.

Pappas had been his patient for about 15 years when she presented with complaints of burning, numbness, tingling and pain in her hands in January 2004, both sides agree. Joseph, of Shaw & Morrow P.A., said Pappas had seen Khanna “at least 60 times” since 1989 for ailments ranging from fever to pain. website maryland general hospital

This time, Khanna diagnosed Pappas with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition of unknown origin in Pappas’ case, according to Shiff.

“She doesn’t type, that’s for sure. But she did manual labor her whole life,” said Shiff, including a stint in a check-printing factory. Pappas’ last job before her injury was as an optical technician; she does not work now.

In June 2004, Khanna performed a successful left carpal tunnel syndrome release, but his operation on Pappas’ dominant right hand four months later went awry.

“Following the surgery, Ms. Pappas immediately complained of severe pain in the right arm,” her lawsuit, filed a day before the three-year anniversary of the second surgery, stated.

Instead of just cutting the transverse carpal ligament to release the pressure on the median nerve, Khanna had also lacerated — transected — that nerve, Shiff explained.

“The critical thing is not to cut the nerve,” said Shiff. “Whatever you do, don’t cut the nerve.” Although Joseph said it’s “not an open-and-shut question” as to whether Khanna clipped the nerve that ran through the middle of Pappas’ hand, he did not argue the point at trial. Instead, he contended such an injury can happen even when a surgeon acts reasonably. go to website maryland general hospital

Even the surgeon Pappas later consulted (and who eventually testified as her expert witness), Dr. Douglas Shepard, could not point to exactly what Khanna had done wrong that led to the unfortunate result, Joseph said.

He said Judge Carol E. Smith’s decision to allow the case to go to a jury was a “tough legal call” for which there was strong case- law support on both sides.

Guarded prognosis In November 2004, Shepard attempted to repair the nerve damage but “noted [Pappas’] prognosis was guarded and that she might need more surgery,” the complaint stated.

“It made it a little better, but it didn’t make it completely better,” said Shiff of Shepard’s operation. “It took away some of her pain, but it didn’t restore function.” Shiff called Pappas’ right hand “pretty useless” and said she has difficulty holding such objects as a broom and coffee cup and has to wear gloves indoors to keep her hand from getting cold.

At trial, Joseph tried to call Pappas’ claimed symptoms into question.

“One of the main issues in the case was Ms. Pappas has had a long history of medical problems,” he said. “She has had multiple back and neck surgeries, she’s had a triple-bypass … and has complained about pain in every part of her body for many years.” Nevertheless, the jury awarded $120,000 for past lost wages; $130,000 for future lost wages; $17,200 for past medical expenses; and $32,800 for future pain and suffering.

Asked about the possibility of an appeal, Joseph responded: “We are certainly keeping our options open.” Brendan Kearney

About the Author