Posts filed under ‘General Business | Off Topic’

7 Easy Tips for Saving up to 40% on Your Water Bills

By Craig Mielke & Satya Garg, P.E., SM Engineering Co.

You have most likely heard the saying “A little bit now goes a long way later.” It makes sense, but how often do we act upon this idea? With the correct end goal in mind, we can more easily apply the initial steps that will better us off down the road. The goal of this article, and what your end goal should be after reading this article, is to save up to 40% on your water bills.  How can this be done?  Well, let’s take a look at 7 easy tips that will put money back in your pockets, guaranteed.

aeratorTip 1: Use a 1.5GPM aerator for your sink
You can save up to 280 gallons of water per month using a 1.5 gallon per minute (GPM) aerator.  Aerators only cost about $3 and they reduce the water coming through the faucets by mixing it with air. Since there is less space for the water to flow through, the water flow is reduced. However, the water pressure is maintained. This is why most people don’t notice a difference in the amount of water coming out of an aerated faucet vs. a non-aerated faucet (

Tip 2: Use a 2.0 GPM Showerhead
A showerhead that allows a flow of 2 GPM, instead of the standard 3.2 GPM, will work great and save you money.  This is the same concept as using aerators for your sink.  Even though the water flow is less, you will notice the same water pressure and quality of your shower.

diverterTip 3: Make sure your diverter is working correctly
The diverter allows you to change water flow from the tub spout to the showerhead, vice versa.  Sometimes you will notice that while the water is coming out of the showerhead, it is also still dripping out of the tub spout.  If you see this, your diverter is not working properly and it is time to replace it.  Doing this will save you thousands of gallons of water per month.

Tip 4: Use a 1.6gal/flush toilet vs. 3.6 gal/flush toilet
Using a 1.6gal/flush toilet vs. the old standard will save you up to 20% on your indoor water usage.  Some people are skeptical of how well low-flow toilets work.  Would you mind using a 1.6gal/flush toilet if it got the job done? There are a lot of different toilet options out there today with the technology to make sure a clean flush happens every time, all while using less than 1.6 gal/flush.

flapperTip 5: Make sure your toilet flapper is not leaking
To check if your toilet is leaking, take some dye and squirt some in the tank of the toilet.  Wait about 15 minutes, and if the water in the bowl changes color, you have a leaky toilet flapper.  Toilet flappers are very inexpensive, easy to change, and they usually last about 18 months.  This is very important because a leaky toilet can waste thousands of gallons per month.

Tip 6: Water pressure should be between 40-60psi
High water pressure can take its toll on your plumbing fixtures.  Using a water pressure gauge to make sure your fixtures are operating with 40-60psi will save you money by reducing water usage and prolonging the life of your plumbing fixtures.

Tip 7: Switch to front loading washing machines
The average top loading washing machine uses about 31.5 gallons of water per cycle.  On the other hand, the average front-loading washing machine uses about 11 gallons of water per cycle.  I do understand that replacing all of your washers at once may not be economical, but as you replace washing machines, make sure to use the front loaders.  Doing so will save you thousands per year.

Follow these tips and remember a little bit now, goes a long way later.  Also, be sure to check your faucet aerators, showerheads, water pressure, and toilet flappers once per year.  Maintaining these requires minimal effort and will keep you proactive on saving water.

December 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Cocktail Confessions – Volume 6

cocktailBy Jerry Anderson, Escom Properties, Inc.

Welcome to the sixth installment of Cocktail Confessions. The goal of Cocktail Confessions is to track down three industry movers and shakers, feed them some cocktails, and get their take on the topics of the day. Their answers are published exclusively on the Pulse.

If you have questions you’d like asked for future segments, please leave them in the comments section below.

In this installment we are pleased to have Mark Nordland of Nordland Partners; Mark Stevens, Associate Vice President at Nordland-StevensCassidy Turley; and Peter Fitzgerald of Concord Leasing & Advisory Group.

Question 1:  What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken professionally?  How did it work out?

Mark Nordland: In 2010, after I left Ryan Companies, I had to decide whether to jump to a different industry, take a less desirable job in commercial real estate or start my own company.  I determined that the down market provided an opportunity to start up while the industry was licking its wounds and hopefully get projects started that would prove successful as the market recovered.  I partnered with Dan Regan and the two of us have been able to capitalize on a growing demand for healthcare facilities and lack of quality industrial space.  It’s been a bumpy road, but looking back it’s the best thing that ever happened to me professionally.

Mark Stevens: My biggest risk was leaving a successful team at United Properties where I was considered a junior broker and transitioning to Cassidy Turley (Formerly CTMT) to build my own team. Only having 4 ½ years in the business at that transition point, I quickly learned what it really took to compete and win new business. I consider my risk to be rewarding and it taught me to appreciate and respect the business and the people that have been successful over a long career.

Peter Fitzgerald: We founded Concord in 2010 in the midst of a very challenging commercial real estate environment.  This was daunting but we were confident the market would eventually improve. We wanted to be in good working order by the time leasing and acquisition activity resumed.

Question 2:  What inspires you on a daily basis?  What gives you the “fire” to tackle all the daily obstacles you face? (more…)

December 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Random Rants: Voter ID

Thumbs up & downShould Minnesotans vote yes or no to amend the State Constitution to require a photo ID at the ballot box?

Supporters believe that it is an idea whose time has come, and that it will reduce the number of fraudulent votes that could potentially sway close elections.

Those in opposition believe that the amount of voter fraud is negligible. They also think the number of people who would be discouraged from voting or lose their access to vote would be a greater number than the proven number of fraudulent votes typically cast.

If you just moved to Minnesota and are not fully up to date with your documents, if you are sick or homeless or having mobility problems, or face a language barrier– passing voter ID could create an additional hurdle for you at the polls. In essence, the position of those in opposition is that the law will disproportionally affect those who are vulnerable or are already facing too many hurdles in life.
Supporters believe that a photo ID has become completely mainstream and a necessary part of functioning in society. They believe that it is expected that to participate in matters which pertain uniquely to your affairs – presenting your photo ID protects your property and ensures your rights. By example, should banks require the only proof of identity needed to access your accounts is a recent utility bill or someone to vouch for you?  No, but that is what is currently required for someone to cast their vote in Minnesota. The new law would also require the state to provide a photo ID to those who can’t purchase their own.
Is acquiring a photo ID an unreasonable burden that will suppress voter turnout? Is voter fraud or the potential of it worth addressing through tighter requirements?

The public will visit the polls on November 6th and give their answer.
How will you vote?

The opinions expressed in Random Rants are solely those of the author and do not represent the opinions or viewpoints of NAIOP Minnesota, its leadership or its staff.

October 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Best Practices: Christy Lewis

Light bulbI reach out to a new prospect on all levels, including phone, email, Linked In, etc.  Understanding that everyone works differently and has different preferences of how they like to communicate is key.  This ensures a higher response rate based on the fact that they will most likely respond to one method and then you also become aware of their preferred method of contact.

Christy Lewis
  Christy Lewis, Director of Business Development, Doran Companies
  (952) 288-2037 |

March 5, 2012 at 8:00 am

Best Practices: Arvid Povilaitis

Light bulbI have a number of direct reports throughout the country.  Everyone is busy with their day-to-day activities managing issues as they arise. In an effort to stay focused on our goals and strategic in our thinking, I have a permanent time slot set aside with each person each week that is “sacred.”  It sets aside a time to discuss anything we need to, as well as to catch up on the status of ongoing projects.  These meetings are sometimes very brief, and sometimes quite lengthy, as warranted.

Inform your supervisor what you’re planning to do, when you’re going to get it done and then do it.  No surprises.

Arvid Povilaitis 
Arvid Povilaitis, COO, Meritex Enterprises, Inc.
  (651) 855-9708 |

February 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

What’s a QR Code?

QR (Quick Response) Codes, you’ve seen them in stores, magazines, they’re everywhere! 

What’s a QR Code?
QR codes are bar codes, often shaped as a square, and can be created by anyone by using one of many free websites. It takes seconds to create.  QR Codes share information such as a website link or business card.  You use your mobile phone to scan it. 

How do I scan a QR code?
You’ll need to download an app from your app store.  Here’s a list of the most popular free QR Code Readers:

  • Redlaser (iPhone and Android)
  • NeoReader (most platforms)
  • QR Code Scanner Pro – Free (Blackberry)
  • QR deCODEr (Palm)

Once you download the app, the app will do all the work.  Just launch the app and point your camera at the code and it’ll automatically load the information.

What’s the Point?
The possibilities are endless.  For a real estate agent, rather than posting your phone number on a billboard, a QR code can automatically dial your number or load information about your property on the potential client’s phone.  Or the next time you go shopping, save money by using your QR code reader to scan regular bar codes on the product packaging and it’ll tell you the pricing online or at another retailer. 

NAIOP Golf Event – Live Scores from the Course!
At the upcoming golf event, we’ll have live scoring and a leaderboard on the Pulse so you can keep track of the other groups.  On your cart, you’ll have a QR code to scan; which will take your mobile phone’s web browser to the leaderboard.

May 23, 2011 at 8:00 am

Random Rants: Are you a foodie?

foodie plateAre you a foodie? Let’s hope not.

Turn on the TV, flip through a magazine or go online and you will blaze past channel and page of chefs chopping away. There are angry chefs, scientific ones, wanna-be angry chefs, people cooking outside, people cooking in a ship’s galley, people obsessing over trace ingredients and arcane methods by which to assemble a meal.

Show after show, and with piles of pages there is a furious competition going on for our attention.  It all involves food. Food, food, food – foodie food. (more…)

March 31, 2011 at 1:56 pm 1 comment

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