Case Studies

This section contains case studies of community programs primarily from across North America. It includes a broad sampling of programs to offer a wide variety of approaches and tools used, locations, types of organizations and participants, activities being promoted and problems being addressed. Most of these case studies illustrate approaches that have worked. However, examples of potential pitfalls are also included to provide you with a realistic map of the terrain ahead.

We are actively looking for new case studies with measured impact results. Do you know of any that might make good additions to this site? Please let us know.

All the Case Studies and examples are described in the past tense, including programs that are still operating. If the program is still operating, the Case Study summary is written in the present tense.

Are you looking for a particular topic? Please view Topic Resources.

1  2  3  Next Button  Next Button
Sort by:
  Show  5  10  30

Landmark Case Study Playa Vista Ability2Change  EnvironmentHealth

Playa Vista's Ability2Change program is a great example of a targeted, strategic approach to transport behavior change. It features careful market segmentation and barrier removal, with different initiatives for different people. In just seven months it yielded a 4.9% decrease in peak time drive alone mode share across the entire community (a decrease of 3.5 percentage points from 71.4% to 67.9%), with corresponding increases in carpool, cycling and transit trips. 

 MORE »

Chicago’s Go Program  EnvironmentHealth

Chicago’s Go Program is an Individualized Marketing program that helps residents walk, bike, ride transit, and share bikes more frequently, while driving alone less often. Participants have access to free personal support, group activities, and personalized Go Kits full of walking, biking, transit, and bike share information. Local outreach ambassadors help people explore their travel options by engaging residents in dialogue and fostering community partnerships. The program also organizes and leads group events where staff and ambassadors answer questions and provide personal support to help reduce barriers to accessing transportation options. Each program has continued on afterwards as a community-based initiative, independent of the original grant funding. This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

 MORE »

Capitol Hill In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

Capitol Hill In Motion is a recent evolution of the individualized marketing approach used by King County, Washington State, USA. It illustrates how to further engage communities where most trips are already not drive-alone. With remarkably high signup rates, this campaign also delivered a solid 16% average reduction in drive-alone trips (surpassing the campaign goal and King County’s overall goal of a 10% reduction). This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Shower Feedback in Switzerland  Environment

The Shower Feedback program provides households with real-time feedback on one specific, energy-intensive behaviour: showering. Participants receive smart shower meters that display feedback on the individual’s energy and water consumption in the shower in real time. On average, participants cut their shower time by an average of roughly 20%, which reduced related water and energy consumption by about the same amount. This program was designated a Tools of Change Landmark case study in 2016. 

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Ohm Connect’s #OhmHour Program  Environment

Ohm Connect’s #OhmHour Program pays program participants to reduce their energy at peak times. On average, participants save100-200 kWh at peak times per year per household. While there have been a number of episodic energy efficiency programs in the past, this case study adds three innovative elements: a focus on peak demand with remarkable frequency, flexibility and precision; rich gamification features that encourage user participation; and an optional level of automation that was not available until the recent installation of smart meters and widespread availability of smart devices. Implementation requires no hardware to purchase or install. This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Fort Collins Efficiency Works (Neighborhoods).  Environment

In a pilot from the fall of 2015 to the fall of 2016, Fort Collins Utilities tested a new hybrid model of comprehensive home performance (HP) contracting to increase participation and energy savings. It offered a streamlined, turn-key service for homeowner that overcame key barriers to participation such as lack of time to select and meet with contractors, too many complex technical scope of work decisions, homeowner distrust of contractor proposals, and concerns about paying for improvements. The campaign also used a propensity model to target the neighborhoods with the highest potential for saving, and then direct mail marketing to neighborhoods with the highest propensity to participate. The pilot doubled enrollment rates, converted 44% of energy efficiency assessments to upgrades, and doubled average project energy savings. In 2017, this pilot received the American Public Power Association Energy Innovator award. This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Energy Star  Environment

ENERGY STAR is one of the most effective public sector voluntary behavior change programs in U.S. history. The program was designed with the goal of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the energy efficiency of products. ENERGY STAR sets national specifications for energy efficient products that are in the top 20% of efficiency for the product category. As efficiency in each product category improves, the specification moves up, encouraging continual improvement. Manufacturers that meet the specifications can use the ENERGY STAR label on products and in their marketing. Utilities can set rebate dollars based on a nationally accepted specification which makes it easy for manufacturers and retailers to participate in their rebate programs. Ultimately, consumers can easily identify products that are energy efficient when shopping. This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

 MORE »

Energy+Illawarra  Environment

Energy+Illawarra is a community oriented strategic social marketing program with the aim of supporting home energy efficiency, comfort and wellbeing among 830 older, low-income people in the Illawarra, NSW, Australia.

 MORE »

Duke Energy's Smart Energy in Offices Program  Environment

Duke Energy's Smart Energy in Offices program (SEiO) is one of the few behavioral programs targeting energy savings opportunities in large commercial office buildings. It encourages energy savings from improved energy efficient building operations and maintenance practices, and also from improved tenant and employee energy management and conservation practices.

 MORE »

Clean Air at Home  EnvironmentHealth

"Clean Air at Home: Small Steps Make a Big Difference" is a targeted, community-based social marketing campaign that reduces young families’ exposures to environmental contaminants at home such as mould, dust, fumes from toxic cleaners and tobacco smoke. Almost three in four participants changed some of their behaviors and almost one half reported performing all five of the behaviors being promoted.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study King County In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

In Motion participants pledge to shift two drive-alone trips per week to transit, ridesharing, biking or walking. The program uses motivational interviewing, commitments, rewards, engaging materials and norm appeals tailored to each target community. It has been called into action during or in anticipation of major construction, transit restructures or new transit service such as light rail or bus rapid transit. Since creating In Motion in 2004, King County Metro Transit has applied a growing toolkit of community-based social marketing techniques to persuade about 23,000 Seattle-area travelers to drive less. Designated a Landmark case study in 2015. A 4.5 minute You Tube video summary is available.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Bonneville Power Administration Energy Smart Industrial Energy Efficiency Program  Environment

The Bonneville Power Administration’s Energy Smart Industrial (ESI) energy management program has changed how large industrial facilities prioritize and manage energy. Through participation in ESI’s High Performance Energy Management (HPEM—now called Strategic Energy Management) program component, corporate leaders are encouraged to establish and communicate energy policies and goals, conduct regular reviews of energy performance metrics, and actively support energy efficiency improvement efforts. At the shop-floor level, HPEM/SEM impacts a broad range of behaviors and practices. Common improvements include the shutdown of idling equipment during non-production hours, implementing more energy efficient set points, and adopting enhanced preventative maintenance practices. Designated a Landmark case study in 2016.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Bikeability Safety Training in the UK  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This large scale bicycle safety training program from the UK has been particularly well evaluated and shows impressive results, adding to the evidence of the value of such trainings. Designated a Landmark case study in 2016.

 MORE »

Alameda County’s Community Commutes Day  Environment

Community Commutes Day used game-based competition, community based social marketing techniques, crowd-sourced graphic design to save costs, and peer-to-peer information sharing via trained “Clean Commute Champions” to get employees to adopt cleaner commute options.

 MORE »

Girl Scouts GLEE Program  Environment

The Girls Learning Energy and Environment Program (GLEE) was designed to reduce home energy consumption as well as energy use related to food and transportation, among targeted Junior Girls Scouts (ages 9-10) and their families. It was developed and rigorously evaluated over six years with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-e program.

 MORE »

Alameda’s Green Purchasing Program  Environment

This innovative green purchasing program engaged hundreds of event planners and over 18,000 event participants to build a new county culture of sustainable and healthy gatherings in Alameda County, California. In only six weeks, its promotion competition enrolled 192 events and meetings, reaching over 9,200 attendees with model green & healthy practices.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Get Energized, Iowa!  Environment

Get Energized, Iowa! is a highly replicable community-based program that encouraged rural Iowa communities to compete against one another to achieve high gas and electricity savings, based on actual usage. 

 MORE »

Growing Healthy Kids  EnvironmentHealth

This well-documented obesity prevention program pilot for low-income families in Carrboro NC (USA) featured three main components. Weekly work sessions in a community garden provided gardening instruction and practice opportunities and a familiarity with the vegetables. A seven-week workshop series covered cooking and nutrition. Social activities and events built and maintained interest in the garden and fostered interaction between garden members. By the end of their participation in the program, 17% (n=6, p<0.004) of obese or overweight children had improved their BMI classification and 100% of the children with a BMI classification of normal had maintained that BMI classification.

 MORE »

SCIP Mozambique  Health

From 2009 to 2015, Pathfinder International and its partners implemented the USAID-funded Strengthening Communities through Integrated Programming (SCIP) project in Nampula province, Mozambique. As part of SCIP’s overarching mandate to improve quality of life at the household and community levels, the project worked to increase access to contraceptive services by strengthening and better integrating health and community systems. There was a 400% increase in couple years of protection that occurred across all contraceptive methods included in the Mozambican method mix, suggesting improved method choice and minimized health provider bias.

 MORE »

Cool California City Challenge  Environment

The Cool California Challenge is a state-wide competition between California cities engaging their residents in climate action. Participants earn points for tracking and reducing their electricity, natural gas and motor vehicle emissions and for simple one-time actions, like uploading photos and stories, inviting friends or taking a survey. Results from a quasi-experimental design suggest a 14% reduction in electricity use among program participants.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study LEED  EnvironmentHealth

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a tremendously successful program that engages builders and owners in designing, building, selling / buying and operating more energy-efficient buildings. It awards points for meeting targets and doing targeted behaviors like benchmarking and tracking energy and water consumption, using specific types of materials, and recycling waste materials. It has become the most used green building rating system out there, adopted in more than 150 countries and territories worldwide. The program received Landmark designation in 2015.

 MORE »

Citi Bike - NYC Bikeshare  EnvironmentHealth

New York City’s Citi Bike is the largest bike share program in North America, and a key element in the city’s transportation network, providing a last mile solution. A similar approach is replicable in the downtown cores of other major cities where taxies, buses and individual cars all intertwine together.

 MORE »

CommuteSM  EnvironmentHealth

CommuteSM is Santa Monica’s Transportation Management Association, formed pro bono in 2012 by RideAmigos. In collaboration with the City of Santa Monica, CommuteSM launched Santa Monica’s first-ever Commuter Challenge in 2015 (April 1 to September 1). This challenge encouraged residents and employees in Santa Monica to bike, carpool/vanpool, ride transit, or walk to work, instead of driving alone.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study BIXI Bicycle Sharing  EnvironmentHealth

BIXI Montreal is a great example of how to make  urban cycling a more practical and attractive transportation option. BIXI makes it convenient for commuters to cycle rather than drive, especially for frequent, short trips. The system was specifically developed to augment Montreal’s existing transit system and between 2009 and 2013 Montrealers made more than 13 million trips with BIXI. It is a turn-key service that is inexpensive and replicable across many countries and cultures. In addition, by making cycling more chic and attractive, BIXI has had a major impact on cycling in North America. Revised in September 2015.

 MORE »

Green Communities Canada’s Home Energy Retrofit Incentive and Home Visit Program  Environment

Making the housing stock more energy-efficient provides persistent and ongoing returns. However efforts to do so often run into obstacles that diminish program impacts. This program illustrates how to overcome many of these barriers, and how ongoing monitoring and evaluation can lead to program improvements over time. It’s also a great illustration of combining home visits with incentives for doing desired behaviours. Revised in September 2015.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Bicycle Friendly Communities Program  EnvironmentHealthSafety

The Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) program provides municipalities with advice and feedback, goal setting assistance, training programs and recognition awards to create more bike-friendly communities. It is a results-oriented program designed to encourage municipal decision makers to consider how their existing cycling programs complement one another and how they can be improved. Detailed feedback from transportation professionals and community stakeholders gives communities an accurate measure of where they are and a detailed roadmap to the future.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Love to Ride  EnvironmentHealth

Love to Ride provides tailored resources and support for increasing commuter cycling, staff fitness, and reducing traffic congestion at work. It uses 'stage of change' to segment participants and cost-effectively tailor communications to them, helping them move along a personal journey of change. A web-based platform and GPS app reach people through their computers, cell phones and tablets, with tailored and timely information. Originally developed in New Zealand, Love to Ride has now been replicated in continental Europe, the UK, US and Australia. It was designated a Landmark case study in 2014.

 MORE »

Recycle Right  Environment

Bankstown, Australia tested a range of options for reducing waste contamination. 

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Power Smart Residential Behavioural Program  Environment

This program is a great example of applying a “loyalty group” approach to progressively engage participants in changing behaviours. Because electricity and electricity conservation tend to be a low priority for many British Columbians, BC Hydro has connected energy conservation to the things that people care about through an opt-in loyalty model and a focus on story-telling, co-creation, challenges and individualized feedback. Regular communications repeatedly drive participants back to their Members’ Tool Box, which serves as a ‘hub’. Ultimately, the product mix is designed to increase participant engagement levels on three dimensions: affiliation, (“this is who I am”), resonance (“this is right for me”) and enjoyment (“I like this”). Multi-year impact data.  Designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Opower’s Home Energy Report, Minnesota  Environment

This program is a great example of the use of ongoing individualized feedback and prompts, coupled with norm appeals. Opower helps individual utility companies to send customized home energy use feedback reports to their residential utility customers. The full-colour reports include a comparison with other similar households, offer tips and strategies to reduce energy use, and provide seasonal energy consumption information. A web portal offers personalized insights and tips, and tools for choosing an optimal energy rate plan. In addition, Opower offers utilities the opportunity to send text messages directly to customers to alert them when their energy consumption is high and offer ways to reduce it. Updated as of October, 2014.

 MORE »
1  2  3  Next Button  Next Button
Sorted by:
  Show  5  10  30

Search the Case Studies

Click for Advanced Search »