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High water bills are impacting many cities across the nation, sparking unrest among residents and property owners. While some recent bill increases are due to water rate hikes, other dramatic increases are speculated to have been caused by malfunctioning meters.

In San Diego, water rates have increased 67% since 2007, resulting in higher water bills for aggravated city dwellers. Many city residents have joined together in San Diego’s Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN) and participated in protests against the rate increases. While they were defeated in their most recent protest against a March 1st increase, UCAN plans to work harder than ever to oppose the water rate hikes in coming years.

San Diego is not the only city being affected by rate increases. In New York City, water rates are up nearly 13% and in Milwaukee they are expected to rise 27%. Cleveland, OH, Austin, TX, and Phoenix, AZ are just a few more cities where recent water rate hikes have sparked publicized protests. If your organization is worried about the financial burden of rate increases, consider contacting WaterWatch Corporation to learn about our submetering solutions.

Some Atlanta residents have seen their water bills increase by thousands of dollars for a reason other than water rate hikes. A CNN.com report explains that after testing properties for major leaks, it was determined that many of the recent bill increases were actually caused by malfunctioning meters that were not installed or programmed correctly. Large commercial properties in the area are complaining that their water bills have increased by a staggering $300,000.00 over their bills from the same time frame in the previous year. For more information on Atlanta’s water bill situation visit CNN.com.

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Many firms involved in real estate development claim they offer green services, but have they truly taken steps to better the environment? The Sustainable Performance Institute is in the process of creating a certification program that will determine exactly how much energy these firms are saving in an effort to decrease the amount of greenwashing in the industry.

The Sustainable Performance Institute (SPI) certification program will target design and construction firms, engineers, and various other companies involved in real estate development. The criteria for this certification was developed with assistance from the US Green Building Council and the American Institute of Architects. The certification includes 64 required credits that fall under categories ranging from Partnering and Collaboration to Infrastructure and Support Systems. 

Multi-Housing News explains that the SPI certification is different from others existing today in that it focuses specifically on firms’ services, rather than individual buildings or projects. Although the certification has only been active for a few months, a wide range of firms have already expressed interest in becoming certified.

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According to DailyFinance.com, the commercial real estate industry is predicted to expand greatly in 2011 after previously being hit hard by the economic recession. With the industry still in an early stage of recovery, commercial property owners are considering creative ways to attract and retain residents.

Implementing utility submetering in the place of triple-net leasing is one strategy that many commercial properties owners are utilizing to retain residents in 2011. While triple-net leases require that commercial tenants pay for common area repairs and split utility costs, submetering allows tenants to instead be responsible only for their own utility usage. Utility usage can vary drastically from unit to unit depending on how the property is being used. In a triple-net lease, a small retail shop using virtually no utilities may be paying for part of the high utility bill from a busy restaurant.  Submetering the property takes this out of the equation, allowing residents to pay only for the utilities that they use and ultimately saving them money.

Another unique strategy for attracting tenants is to consider converting commercial properties into live/work units. Multifamily Executive explains that the ability to pay only one rent is very appealing for many residents, especially those who can arrange their business so that it utilizes one floor of the property while living on another.  Converting units in commercial properties into livable lofts is another way to create a live/work space that is convenient for residents looking to pay only one rent.

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