During the Clinton Global Initiative meeting Sept. 24, the USGBC declared New Orleans’ Make It Right neighborhood the “largest and greenest community of single-family homes in the world.” The housing initiative, launched by Brad Pitt after Hurricane Katrina to build safe, sustainable homes for residents in the city’s hard-hit Lower 9th Ward, has certified 13 storm-resistant homes LEED-Platinum and is erecting a total of least 150 similar houses.

Insulation manufacturer Johns Manville has acquired Corbond Corp., a manufacturer of spray-foam insulation. With the acquisition, the company launched JM Corbond III, a high-yield, closed-cell spray-foam insulation that provides an R-value of 19 at 3 inches.

In J.D. Power & Associates’ “2009 U.S. Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study,” 31% of homeowner respondents said they perceive their house to be environmentally friendly, but most owners—65%—said their builders did not identify the home’s green features.

A survey of NAHB members revealed that prospective buyers want green features, but at the right price: Builders said that of the buyers willing to pay more, 57% are unlikely to pay more than an additional 2%. In addition, only 11% of builders surveyed indicated that customers have asked about environmentally friendly features.

A bill introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) would limit the allowable formaldehyde emissions in composite wood panel products to about 0.09 parts per million, the same level as those recently enacted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the most stringent in the world.

In September, Boulder, Colo., became the first fully functioning smart grid–enabled city in the world. About 4,600 residential and small business transformers are tied to Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity system via smart meters, which monitor energy use in near-real time. In the next phase of the project, customers will receive in-home energy-monitoring devices to control and minimize energy consumption via the Internet.

California startup New Home Inc. announced plans to build 25 green-building-material stores throughout the state; the company says it eventually will open stores and distribution centers nationwide.

The Home Depot Foundation will provide a $30 million grant to Habitat for Humanity to build 5,000 homes that meet Energy Star or more rigid national or regional green building standards.

Portland, Ore., recently designated a handful of urban areas “eco-districts,” a concept in which buildings, streetscapes, landscaping, and infrastructure work together to cut greenhouse gases, reduce waste, and improve energy and water efficiency.

—Excerpted from online reports. To view full versions of these news items, plus additional daily green building coverage, visit www.ecohomemagazine.com.