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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The Residential Conservation Assistance Program (ReCAP)  Environment

The Residential Conservation Assistance Program ( ReCAP) provided a free home visit service to the residents of Oshawa, Ontario, aimed at helping householders reduce their use of energy and water and improve their 3Rs practices. Trained home advisors provided householders with one-on-one assistance to identify and undertake conservation and cost-saving opportunities. As of 1996 the program had been renamed Green CAP and householders were required to pay a fee for the home visits.

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Sheffield Mills Community Association  Environment

The organizing efforts of Sheffield Mills Community Association show what a small community can do to help its residents reduce waste. A collection depot, home visits and coaching helped people to start recycling and composting.

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The Toxic Challenge  EnvironmentHealth

To encourage people to reduce their use of toxic-containing consumer products, a door-to-door campaign was organized in two neighbourhoods of Metropolitan Toronto. Summer students staffed the campaign in which residents were asked to try non-toxic or less toxic alternatives.

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We're Toxic Free  EnvironmentHealth

The City of Peterborough conducted a door-to-door pilot campaign to influence residents' behaviours related to the purchasing and disposal of toxic household chemicals. Summer students staffed the campaign in which residents were asked to try non-toxic or less toxic alternatives.

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Whitney Public School  Environment

Students at Whitney Public School were given a homework assignment to take responsibility for their home's Blue Box recycling for one week. The assignment was to be carried out by the students with parent participation. Information was provided to each home on new materials that were being accepted in the Blue Box.

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BC21 PowerSmart  Environment

BC21 PowerSmart is a province wide project to conserve resources and create jobs. Residential energy efficiency audits are conducted, and incentives are offered to encourage residents to take steps to improve energy and water efficiency.

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Earth-Works  Environment

The Earth-Works program was created to reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill in Port Colborne. An intensive promotion program, featuring home visits and the distribution of free composters, encouraged residents to compost organic waste in their own backyards.

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Marley Station Mall  EnvironmentHealth

This pilot used simple signs to promote health and weight control by encouraging the use of stairs instead of escalators.

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Montreal Dietary Dispensary  Health

This award-winning program was established to help disadvantaged women give birth to babies of healthy weight, by providing nutritional counselling and support to expectant mothers at risk.

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Better Buildings Partnership  EnvironmentHealth

Toronto's Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) involves comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits and building renewal initiatives for buildings in the public, non-profit and private sectors. Innovative financing strategies are implemented and energy and water technologies are bundled together with other building renewal measures to allow for project flexibility.

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Le Club Millezinc  EnvironmentHealth

Student volunteers are enlisted and trained to present information to younger students regarding environment-friendly lifestyle changes, and the relationship between environmental protection and human health. The volunteers create videos and written material and travel to local schools to deliver the presentations.

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The Roach Coach Project  EnvironmentHealth

This pilot program demonstrated how a brief, on-site, educational intervention coupled with resource materials can influence tenants to adopt less hazardous pest control methods. Materials were developed for use by others.

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Calgary Commuter Challenge  EnvironmentHealth

The Calgary Commuter Challenge is an annual, weeklong event designed to encourage commuters to use cleaner and healthier forms of transportation. Participating organizations compete with each other for the highest rates of employee participation. The city of Calgary also competes against other Canadian cities in the nation-wide Commuter Challenge.

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Do Your Share for Cleaner Air  EnvironmentHealth

The region of Greater Cincinnati implemented an episode day program to deal with the problem of smog and air quality. When smog levels were particularly high, citizens were notified and encouraged to change their behaviours to less polluting ones. The focus was primarily on commuting, but includef other polluting activities as well. The campaign was known as "Do Your Share for Cleaner air".

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Improving Employee Transportation: The Cambie Corridor Consortium  EnvironmentHealth

The Cambie Corridor Consortium (CCC) was the first transportation management association (TMA) established in Canada. A TMA is an alliance of business, government, and other groups that aims to reduce traffic in a particular area by pooling resources and expertise. Cambie's aim is to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles commuting to the Cambie/Broadway area of Vancouver and improve air quality by providing alternative transportation solutions and information. Approximately 25,000 employees are represented through CCC's 21 members.

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Resource Conservation in Ashland, Oregon  Environment

The City of Ashland runs a range of conservation incentive programs aimed primarily at promoting energy efficiency but also encompassing water conservation, regional air quality, recycling and composting, and land-use planning. The programs are designed to increase citizens' awareness of and access to conservation measures for new construction and retrofit, including residential weatherization, replacement of toilets and showerheads, composting, incentives for builders, and land-use ordinances.

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off ramp  EnvironmentHealth

Off ramp was an out-of-class initiative that encouraged secondary school students to walk, cycle or take transit to school more often, thereby reducing car use. It increased awareness of transportation and climate change issues, provided incentives, and reduced barriers to transportation alternatives. In short, it improved the availability and popularity of sustainable transportation within the schools and their communities.

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Halifax Waste Resource Management Strategy  Environment

The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), along with public and private partners, has implemented an innovative strategy for the on-site separation of wet, dry and recyclable waste at both residential and business sources. Operational since January 1999, the Halifax approach demonstrates an environmentally sound alternative to incineration or raw waste land-filling and continues to generate national and international interest.

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Nortel Networks' GreenCommute  EnvironmentHealth

In 1998, Nortel Networks initiated GreenCommute, a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program for its campus expansion in Ottawa, Ontario, that has grown into one of the most comprehensive TDM programs in Canada. Nortel Networks has since expanded the program to other sites in Canada and United States. This case study shows how key partnerships, pedestrian-oriented site design, and a strong commitment to green commuting can successfully engage employee participation. Replicability: high

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Travel Blending  EnvironmentHealth

Travel Blending(R) is a bottom up Travel Demand Management tool developed by Steer Davies Gleave, an international transport management consultancy group. It enables individuals and households to record then consciously change their current travel behaviour. For a one-week period participants track their travel habits in specially prepared diaries. These are then analysed and a personalised assessment with recommendations is provided. After a month, participants complete another series of diaries and then receive more personalized feedback.

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