Why CRE Companies Bring Bees to their Buildings

Posted 08/13/2021 BY Donald Vincent

Rooftop beehive installation

Does your business want to enhance its sustainability efforts? Creating a home for bees is a simple and impactful way to do so. 

Beehives help make distinctive buildings even sweeter. Bryan Furze, the Vice President of Leasing at WS Development says, “The Best Bees Company beekeeping services gave us the ability to transform underutilized space into something so much more.” 

When it comes to the benefits of bees in urban areas, the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) community plays an important role in environmental conservation. The number of companies installing beehives on the roofs of their urban buildings to support their sustainability measures are  increasing in number. 

We can all work to help restore bees’ habitats, whether it’s creating a backyard garden or donating to bee-preservation causes. We need the pollination from bees for the survival of the planet and  emerging trends show that property managers are joining the cause. 

Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Rooftop Beehives
Corporate rooftop beehives in Boston, MA.

Installing Hives to Compliment Sustainability Measures

Innovative commercial real estate property owners are starting to recognize the importance of urban beehives on rooftops and some ground-level sites. 

In 2014, Beacon Capital partnered with The Best Bees Company to be a part of their goal to make a positive environmental impact by installing honeybee apiaries on two of their buildings, quickly becoming one of the first and largest institutional property owners to introduce a large-scale beekeeping program in the United States.

Bees bring to life what are often significant but invisible infrastructure improvements. For Beacon, bees are a low-cost, high-value investment that pays off in the form of tenant and investor engagement. From coast to coast, tenants engage in name the queen contests, honey recipe potlucks and meet the beekeeper events in extended conversations about environmental impact.

“Bees are the cherry on top of my sustainability efforts,” says Sara Neff, Sustainability Vice President of Kilroy Realty. “Getting bees at each property shows me that we’ve really done it all when it comes to sustainability.”

Bees as Education Ambassadors for the Environment 

Bees are seen as educational stewards and the gateway to learning more about the environment. According to the white paper CRE and the Bee, Beacon does a great deal of education including distributing information to all their tenants, hosting beekeeping events on Earth Day, teaching cooking classes using honey from the bees and veggies from their rooftop gardens.

They also allow tenants to tour the roof with a guide. Bees are a great way to learn more about the environment because of the insight they give into pollination, biodiversity, and much more. 

The Sweet Benefits of Honey

A single beehive can produce anywhere from 15 to 50 lbs of honey per year. We take care of harvesting and jarring it all for all of our CRE and residential clients. Sharing this golden amenity is a simple and tasty way to showcase your sustainability efforts.

Honeybees and wax

We offer a variety of jar sizes and can include your logo and custom messaging on the labels. In addition, we offer extra jars or bulk pails from apiaries in your area, so all the honey you need is at your fingertips.

The Best Bees Company helps changemakers: 

  • Make a real impact both globally and locally
  • Get publicity and buzz
  • Be known as a sustainability champion
  • Put on social and educational events that audiences will enjoy and remember
  • Enjoy your very own local honey
Events and Your Honey

Programming for tenants, guests, and other partners can be predictable and stale. Coming up with fresh ideas year after year is often a challenge. When you have busy bees on your property, there’s always something interesting and relevant to rally around.

Corporate Honey Events
Best Bees informational table at Blue Cross Blue Shield event.

Some of the more popular activities clients have included in corporate and building events are:

  • Honey tastings
  • Beekeeper meet-and-greet
  • Apiary tours
  • Fun facts, pop quizzes, and trivia
  • TED-style talks with the experts
  • Honey jar gift set giveaways
Wellness Perks

Beacon Capital Partners and other companies recognize that their tenants, given the choice, prefer to work at properties focused on sustainability. Tenants and employees recognize the plight of pollinators and appreciate the opportunity to welcome bees to the workplace.

Biophilic Cities’ currently partner with scholars and advocates from across the globe to build an understanding of the value and contribution of nature in cities to the lives of urban residents. Their vision is to connect cities and nature.

Kevin Kask of Biophilic Cities notes “Rooftop beekeeping has the added benefit of generating interest in biophilia of passersby and neighboring residents and is becoming an accessible hobby for diverse groups of people.”

Not convinced? Read more here about the feel good power of bees.

Boost Your Bottom Line with Bees

Rooftop hive

Increased Property Values

For starters, building and managing organic rooftop gardens that also provide nourishment for bees and produce vegetables, flowers, and herbs for tenants, food banks, and building cafés also increase the values of CRE properties. 

According to our resident bee-Ph.D, Noah Wilson-Rich, because companies are  “incentivized to seek sustainability, with ratings like LEED, we’re seeing tenancy trends in millennials with attitudes that shape where they want to live and work.”

LEED emphasizes the value of urban gardens and vegetated green roofs. As you begin your sustainability journey, the benefits of having a garden onsite are tenfold, including but not limited to providing fresh produce for community partners, fostering biodiversity, and promoting healthy lifestyle options by implementing in-office corporate wellness programs.

Vegetated green roofs (or eco-roofs) with pollinator habitats can even earn up to 7 points toward the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED certification.

Susan Pai, a senior property manager at Cushman & Wakefield recognizes the value of having bees on-site. She says, “Our Best Bees beehives not only transformed our building community by fostering engagement and building environmental awareness, they earned us LEED point credits and a TOBY “Building of the Year!”

For more information on LEED certification and bees, don’t forget to see what the buzz is about and the 5 ways beehives earn LEED Certification

Bees and the ROI 

When looking at the price of bees for properties, Al Scaramelli notes that the cost is low compared to the return.

Aside from the cost, LEED buildings provide better environments for occupants and employees due to the clean air lack of harmful chemicals. These healthy buildings have higher rental fees, boast higher recruitment and retention numbers, and fill up quicker than other non-LEED buildings. 

Property Manager with bees on a rooftop.
Property manager holds the inner cover of a beehive.

As stated in Why your property should be LEED Certified and how to get it done, “LEED-certified buildings tend to draw in more revenue for property owners. A study of 562 PNC banks found that they opened up 458 more consumer deposit accounts and had $3,032,000 in consumer deposit balance in their LEED-certified buildings.” 

Generate buzz with your bee programs

Bees are a rich source of material for generating awareness, excitement, and interest from various stakeholder audiences. Give your followers an easy way to join the movement and amplify the cause.

Here are a few ways the CRE community has successfully leveraged our beekeeping services:

  • Branded honey jars
  • Social media and PR campaigns showcasing hive happenings all year round
  • Raw honey featured throughout offices for social gatherings
  • Rooftop parties with honey-infused signature cocktails

Beehives indeed make headlines. Our clients have had their honeybees featured in various publications such as The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Martha Stewart Living, The Boston Globe, and the New York Times. 

Become a Sustainability Champion

Bees help set you apart from the competition in the minds of your customers, employees, community, media and industry influencers. 

According to Scaramelli, “Sustainability has become  a cornerstone of Beacon’s  investment philosophy.”  

Since corporate social responsibility is no longer optional, people prefer transparency with how their favorite brands and other companies are making a difference in the world. No matter what other sustainable programs you’ve implemented, adding bees to the mix is a turnkey way to round out your sustainability portfolio.

 

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