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Next-Level Sustainability Company Launches in Denver

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David Mathias

By David Mathias

As Denver continues to expand its leadership role in green building practices, commercial property owners and building managers continue to seek opportunities to enhance their location’s green footprint for a number of strategic reasons (USGBC). Some look for projects that will afford them green building certifications like LEED/SITES credits, Well Building certification, or Fitwell and B Corp accreditations. Others look for opportunities to offset their business impacts, seek public relations exposure, or differentiate their properties through installing amenities. Perhaps the most active area of innovation is that of employee and tenant wellness.

The Challenge

In 2019, Earth Watch Institute named bees the most important living being on earth in recognition of all that honeybees do for the human species. Honeybees are important pollinators and are responsible for one-third of the food humans eat. In the U.S. alone, honeybees pollinate more than 100 different crops and annually contribute over $15 Billion to the U.S. economy. Climate change, disease,  and insecticide use are all contributing to the pressure on honeybees.

Along the front range of Colorado, the honeybee population is in dire circumstances. With up to 50% colony loss each year, honeybees need our help. A new organization in Colorado, www.FreeRangeBeehives.com (FRB), has a mission to engage commercial businesses to help save the honeybee! Free Range Beehives offers a turn-key service to install, maintain and care
for honeybee hive systems hosted by businesses. Corporate beekeeping is considered a biophilic practice, defined as anything  that evokes the sense of the beauty of the natural world, and companies are realizing that these programs offer many benefits to the health and wellness of their employees and tenants. The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated many worker’s
feelings of isolation, depression and mental instability. Companies can use urban beekeeping programs to welcome their employees back to the office by signaling their intent to provide support for mental wellness and a connection to nature.

The Program

FreeRangeBeehives.com offers a beehive system that consists of three colonies, populated with a docile species of honeybee.  FRB guarantees the health and wellbeing of the colonies and will replace any hive that becomes unhealthy. They install and secure the hive system in a mutually agreeable place on a building’s property, whether on a rooftop, or space at an adjacent ground level location. FRB’s inspectors visit the hive system weekly, initially, and then bi-weekly to ensure the health of the honeybees. Companies are provided with opportunities for employees to observe and in some cases even participate in caring for the bees. FRB’s network of colonies provides a widely distributed platform for research. The company plans to monitor sources of nectar and pollen, and pesticide levels, along the front range. Local county governments can use this information to guide their choices of pesticide use, and planting of vegetation that is suitable for pollinators. While each corporate hive system only occupies a small footprint, the impact of the honeybees can extend to 2.5 miles around the hive, having a positive effect on
the biodiversity of the community. FRB encourages leaving the bees’ honey in the hives for the first winter but will come and collect their client’s honey and bottle it for them each fall thereafter. Local honey has been shown to help people that have allergies to airborne pollen. There is a great deal of enthusiasm for bottled and branded honey that clients can give to their
employees, vendors and tenants.

The Future of Sustainability and Wellness

As the market evolves and building owners and property managers look for ways to make their assets more interesting, urban and corporate beekeeping grows in popularity. For those owners and managers looking for a practical, cost effective way to incorporate sustainability into their properties, beekeeping can be an excellent amenity. Buildings with honeybees increase property values, can contribute to green building certifications, command higher rent premiums, increase occupancy, lower churn, and provide healthy and attractive work environments for employees and tenants – all of which make properties more attractive and de-risk the asset.

Learn more about Free Range Beehives at www.freerangebeehives.com and follow their progress on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/company/freerangebeehives/

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