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.

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The Clean Air Commute  EnvironmentHealth

Pollution Probe hosts an annual, month-long Clean Air Campaign to raise awareness about smog, vehicle emissions and related respiratory problems. The main event of this campaign is The Clean Air Commute, a one-day event in which employees pledge to carry out cleaner commuting practices. In 1996 a pilot was conducted to build on the one-day event and measure the resulting changes over a period of three months.

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The Environment Network  EnvironmentHealth

This comprehensive program utilized several strategies including home visits, incentives and starter kits to induce households to reduce energy, water consumption, waste to landfill and pollution.

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Get in the Loop -- Buy Recycled  Environment

To encourage people to buy more recycled-content products, an annual, month-long Get in the Loop campaign reminds shoppers in rural and urban areas of western Washington State to buy recycled through in-store promotional materials, and identifies specific recycled-product choices right on the store shelf. This is supported by a print and radio advertising campaign conducted cooperatively with product manufacturers and local retailers.

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Global Action Plan for the Earth (GAP)  Environment

As of 1996, over 8,000 households in 15 countries had participated in GAP's EcoTeam program which revolves around an easy-to-use workbook and peer support groups. The program focuses on waste reduction, water and energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and other sustainable consumer habits.

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Landmark Case Study Go Boulder  EnvironmentHealth

To promote a shift from single-occupant vehicle use to more sustainable modes of transportation, the City of Boulder uses several synergistic approaches. It offers transit passes to entire workplaces, schools and neighbourhoods, with guaranteed rides home for workplace pass holders needing to stay late at work or in case of an emergency. The city has continually improved its physical system to be more supportive of alternative transportation methods, with high-profile monthly reminders and opportunities to try these alternative methods.

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Guelph 2000  Environment

Started in 1993 under Ontario's Green Communities Initiative, Guelph 2000 provided a home visit service that encouraged City of Guelph residents to undertake a wide variety of conservation related actions in their homes, including sustainable landscaping practices.

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In Concert with the Environment  Environment

In Concert With The Environment ( In Concert) is a customizable educational program developed by EcoGroup. It is sold to electric, natural gas, and water utilities in the U.S. who provide the program to local schools free of charge. In Concert teaches about careful use of resources, particularly energy and water use, providing a hands-on, real-life learning experience for students in grades 6-12, and their families.

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Iowa City  Environment

To influence households to reduce natural gas and electricity use, 20-minute home visits were conducted in which conservation strategies were explained, people were asked to participate, and a commitment to participate was requested.

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Pacific Gas and Electric  Environment

Pacific Gas and Electric was using home audits to encourage residents to improve the energy efficiency of their customers' homes. In order to improve the effectiveness of home visits, the utility trained some of its auditors to obtain commitment from the resident, to frame recommendations in terms of "loss" rather than "gain" and to convey recommendations in a personalized, vivid manner.

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Peterborough Green-Up  Environment

Peterborough Green-Up is a non-profit community environmental organization that helps people become more resource efficient through a home visit service. A demonstration Ecology Park is also run, in conjunction with related workshops and clinics.

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