Volunteering is a key pillar of the Burton culture and is encouraged in a variety of forms ranging from making and serving dinner at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House, to food and clothing drives for the local underserved community, to donating Burton’s core energy, water, and/or waste expertise to further an organization’s sustainability objectives. Recently, Burton had the opportunity to work with a faith-based organization as well as a non-profit in Minnesota with two very different drivers for their sustainability efforts.

The first, Temple Israel, is the oldest synagogue in Minneapolis and among the top eight of the largest Reform synagogues in the United States. As part of their strategic sustainability plan, the Temple needed water efficiency expertise to reduce water use and operating expense throughout the 88,000 square foot facility. The building, which houses an early childhood center, auditorium, office staff, and a synagogue that has over 2,000 worshipers during the High Holy Days, had a diverse mix of plumbing fixtures spanning nearly 4 decades and an even more diverse schedule of occupants. Additionally, there is landscape irrigation and stormwater retention on site as well.

The results of the assessment found that the Temple could reduce their usage by nearly 70% by replacing or retrofitting older plumbing fixtures as well as converting their turf to native, drought tolerant landscape. Additionally, as the City of Minneapolis charges stormwater fees, the Temple is eligible to receive up to 50% reduction in fees as they are currently managing their stormwater the underground cistern.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Belwin Nature Conservancy, a 1,400 acre preserve dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and appreciation of the natural world. As water is supplied through a private, non-metered well, the Conservancy needed help in better understanding how water was being used at one of their buildings and then applying those learnings to other buildings. The focus of the water assessments was solely sustainability driven with the objective of the helping the Conservancy be better water stewards.

Although Burton receives no financial gain for these efforts, the best payment you can receive sometimes is the satisfaction that you are doing the right things for the right reasons.