Raising the Bar Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the city's Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) Director Evelyn Friedman recently announced the city's Green Affordable Housing Program, which requires that all DND-funded projects meet Energy Star standards and also qualify for a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver certification. In the future, "everything that is DND-funded will be green," Friedman said at the time, also acknowledging six developers who were recipients of $2 million in funding via a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC). The funding will support a variety of energy-saving construction techniques and sustainable design standards, such as the use of solar photovoltaic panels, at the projects to reach program objectives. ?Chris Wood

Surveys Say The results are in: 74 percent of multifamily builders nationwide say that both buyers and renters are willing to pay more for green amenities, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. Residents are willing to pay a premium of only 2 percent; nevertheless, 89 percent of survey respondents are installing energy-efficient appliances and lighting in their multifamily communities. Another survey by the American Institute of Architects found an increase in demand by consumers for energy efficiency across all building product segments. ?Chris Wood

Big Deals Despite continuing slowdowns in the capital markets, some big deals recently closed. Northland Investment Corp. of Newton, Mass., announced that its Northland Fund III recently acquired nine Class A communities from Equity Residential, a REIT based in Chicago. The portfolio comprises 2,985 units and sold for $270 million. Indianapolis-based Ardizzone Enterprises also announced its purchase of five communities totaling 1,885 units from AIMCO, aREIT based in Denver, for $80 million. ?Les Shaver

Insurance Bonus The Housing Authority Insurance Group, a Cheshire, Conn.-based group that offers niche insurance programs, issued a $541,662 check to the the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) for decreasing its insurance claims over the past year. PHA Executive Director Carl Greene attributed the reduction in the number and severity of claims to improved property management, increased safety awareness among staff and residents, and better claims handling by employees. ?Les Shaver

Dallas Shakeup There's been yet another housing authority controversy. After a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development audit found that the Dallas Housing Authority spent nearly $20 million on questionable rental assistance, including payments to at least 45 dead people, the agency's president and CEO, Ann Lott, stepped down. ?Les Shaver