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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Port of San Diego  Environment

The Port of San Diego’s (Port’s) Green Business Network is an integrated energy efficiency and sustainability program that educates member businesses on sustainable business practices and connects them with resources to implement building and operational improvements. Focusing on businesses in a small geographical area helps create a community spirit that businesses are reluctant to opt out of. Between 2011 and 2017, participating businesses reduced energy use by 32% and water use by 56%.

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Opting Out in Germany for Non-Renewable Energy  Environment

While many people in Germany say they would use green energy if presented with a choice, very few consumers do so. In contrast, most people have been using green energy in a few German municipalities where citizens have had to opt out for non-renewable energy supplies rather than having to opt-in to get renewable ones. This case study presents their experiences and illustrates the value of randomized control trials (RCTs) for measuring program impacts.

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Norway’s Promotion of Electric Vehicles  Environment

Several policies / incentives, in place over an extended period, have made Norwegians more likely to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) than people in any other country. These incentives have included: exemption from vehicle registration and high purchase taxes, reduced road tolls, free parking, and access to some bus lanes. A similar long-term approach could be adapted for other big-ticket purchasing behaviors where the impact justifies the expense – for example energy-efficient home / building retrofits and appliances.

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BART Perks 2  Environment

BART Perks Phase II used a Smartphone-based platform to incentivize shifts in public transit trips that reduced peak demand. The approach proved cost-effective relative to the average fare associated with each freed-up seat. At full-scale, the approach was predicted to be cost-effective relative to purchasing and maintaining more transit cars. This six-month randomized control study took place in San Francisco during the first half of 2019.

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Landmark Case Study RE100  Environment

 

RE100 is a global, collaborative initiative that is accelerating a shift in corporate energy purchasing to reduce global carbon emissions and buy energy from renewable sources. Members commit to public disclosure of progress, with third-party verification providing social proof and accountability. Participation also involves inter-company comparisons and norming to a common goal of 100% renewable electricity. High-profile external public relations events enhance value for membership and sustain pressure for member companies to keep commitments, thereby ensuring persistence of campaign impacts. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2019.

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Landmark Case Study Europe’s Energy Neighborhoods  Environment

Europe’s Energy Neighbourhoods program engaged neighbourhoods to ‘bet’ with their municipalities that they could reduce energy use by at least 9% over a four-month time period, with no investments in technology allowed. Each neighbourhood was supported by an “Energy Master”, an enthusiastic individual who acted as coordinator for the group and who received specific training to help their group make its energy savings. Those groups that made savings of 9% or more were rewarded with certificates and prizes, and received local media attention for their efforts. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2019

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Stay on the Ground  Environment

The most effective approach to-date at shifting air travel to train travel, and also at promoting the sale of carbon offsets for airplane travel, this approach could also work well for other behaviors that are perceived by the audience as clearly important to do, yet are not being adopted by many people.

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Landmark Case Study Bologna’s Bella Mossa  EnvironmentHealth

Bologna’s Bella Mossa program awarded participants points for walking, cycling or using public transport. Points could be redeemed for discounts or payment towards merchandise and services from 85 retailers, including supermarkets, sports retailers, bike stores, opticians, bookshops, cinemas, restaurants and bars. In 2018, 10,000 people reported taking 995,000 trips by alternative transportation methods, totalling 3.7 million kilometres and saving 711 tonnes of CO2. The program won CIVITAS’s “Bold Measure" award in 2017 and was designated a Landmark case study in 2019.

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Landmark Case Study Energy Connect  Environment

Energy Connect shows that energy savings and occupant comfort can be achieved quickly and persistently in large, complex facilities when building operators and mechanics are empowered to solve building performance issues. Five interventions were tested across six diverse healthcare facilities at the second largest health network in North America. Verified first year results show annual energy savings at three facilities from 3% to 12.5% attributable to Energy Connect, and all pilot facilities saved energy. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2018.

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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 doubled enrollment rates, converted 44% of energy efficiency assessments to comprehensive upgrades, and doubled average project energy savings. In 2017, this pilot received both Landmark designation and the American Public Power Association Energy Innovator award. The pilot offered a streamlined, turn-key service for homeowners 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. This case study was designated Landmark in 2017. 

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