Given Burton’s strong history providing water audits within a variety of sectors – hospitality, multifamily, restaurant, retail, K-12, theatres, distribution centers, etc.- we were selected to support a large energy service company (ESCO) to perform investment grade water audits over 13.5 million square feet at a large military base in Okinawa, Japan. The base, home to 30,000 military and civilian personnel, is a town in itself with single family homes, dorms, commissary, bowling alleys, and multiple restaurants and warehouses…all needing to be audited.

After a work commute of about 22 hours, I was ready to go. After landing, I groggily left the airport, got in the rental car, and proceeded to…get back out and go to the other side as the steering wheel is on the right side. After a nerve-racking hour drive to the apartment, I promptly fell into bed at about 10pm local time. Of course, the sleep didn’t last as I was wide awake and starving at 2:00am seeing how it was about noon Minnesota time.

The following morning was the kickoff meeting where a strategy was developed on how to tackle all the audits that needed to take place. A ‘divide and conquer’ plan was decided upon and so the water auditors split up and started auditing their respective buildings. Between the unique plumbing fixtures, F-16 performing touch-and-gos, and cultural nuances, to say it was an eye-opening experience would be an understatement. Although the days were long, the ESCO was great to work with and the team often went to dinner together or sightseeing on the weekends.

Altogether, the water audits took approximately 6 weeks to complete, however, Burton was only able to provide on-site support for 3 weeks due to other client commitments. Although this project was uniquely challenging in multiple facets, it illustrates Burton’s dedication to our clients and our ability to adapt and rise to opportunities that are presented…. even if they may be on the other side of the globe.

Below are a few images of the ‘tough’ work that was done. I have spared you all the toilet pictures…


Japan1“Okinawa is dubbed the Hawaii of Japan due to the similar climates and teal blue water”
Japan2“Ready for our Humvee escort to the airstrip. Note – the back seat has zero legroom for a 6’4″ guy. I’ll take the protection vs. comfort though”
Japan3“Did someone say surf and turf? Some parrot fish and Wagyu beef”