Energy Conservation and Efficiency Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful online social marketing resources for those who promote building energy conservation and efficiency behaviors. For a more detailed look at our energy-related resources, use the search function to the right. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources.

 

Latest News

May 6, 2021 Six New Case Studies, Two Landmark Designations
We've added four new case studies over the past year, two of which achieved Landmark designations. Read about these case studies at the top of the left hand column below. We've also added seven new topic resources - read about them in the right hand column below.  Let us know what you think.
 

Most Recent Energy Efficiency Case Studies

Landmark Case Study Heat Loss Images, Norm Appeals Raise Impacts in Medicine Hat  Environment

A Randomized Controlled Trial tested the impacts of providing consumers, on their monthly utility bills, with high-resolution infrared images of their houses, information about their heat loss relative to their neighbors, and estimated savings from improving their home’s insulation and air tightness. This treatment was twice as effective as a traditional Home Energy Report (HER) treatment. This demonstrates the power of visual cues that help make the intangible more vivid, concrete, and actionable. This case study also illustrates how norm appeals can backfire when descriptive norms are provided to those who are already doing “better” than most, without also providing an affirming injunctive norm. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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London Hydro’s Price Plan Pilot Cuts Peak Use  Environment

London Hydro ran a Randomized Control Trial to test the impacts of real time information (RT), and critical peak pricing (CPP) on peak time residential energy use. CPP participants delivered summer On-Peak and Mid-Peak energy savings that were statistically significant at the 90% confidence level. Adding RT to CPP did not make much difference. Both groups reduced their daily On-Peak consumption by approximately 5% on average, and their Mid-Peak consumption by approximately 3% on average.

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Energy Cat Game  Environment

The Energy Cat computer game was piloted with social housing residents in Plymouth, United Kingdom, to motivate and help them learn about affordable, energy-saving steps they could take in their homes. The game provided an average electricity saving of 3.46% and an average gas saving of 7.48%.

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Landmark Case Study California’s Energy Conservation Competition  Environment

Participants in California’s Energy Conservation Competition work to change energy conservation behaviors in their schools relating to lighting, plug-loads, and mechanical systems. They also develop campaigns to encourage fellow students to communicate with teachers, peers, and administrators about energy conservation practices. This comprehensive program cuts school energy bills by 5% to 15%, and integrates climate education and energy efficiency, with linkages to hands-on job training and career development. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Port of San Diego  Environment

The Port of San Diego’s (Port’s) Green Business Network (Network) is an integrated energy efficiency and sustainability program that educates tenant businesses on sustainable business practices and identifies resources to implement building and operational improvements. The Green Business Network provides a forum for businesses across the Port’s five member cities to network on sustainability best practices. Between 2010 and 2017, participating businesses reduced energy use by 10.8 million kWh and 300,000 therms.

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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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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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Landmark Case Study ClimateSmart Home Service, Queensland, Australia  Environment

Once a resident signs up for Queensland’s ClimateSmart Home Service, a licensed electrician visits the home, installs a variety of energy-efficiency products, conducts an energy audit, provides recommendations, and leaves behind materials and prompts. The information collected is then used to create a customized plan that is sent to the homeowner approximately six weeks after the visit, with different audience segments receiving different messaging. A voluntary household energy challenge, wireless power monitors and an on-line portal help motivate and empower participants. ClimateSmart was designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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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.

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Landmark Case Study Burlington’s Ice Rink Energy Competition  Environment

The City of Burlington's Ice Rink Energy Competition employs a low cost, easily replicable approach to significantly reduce energy consumption, associated greenhouse gases (GHG) and energy costs. A friendly competition to reduce energy at eight of the city's ice rinks helps change behaviours among staff and users, improves facility performance, and extends equipment life without sacrificing facility service levels or user satisfaction. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013.

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Landmark Case Study Class 5 Energy  Environment

This comprehensive, long-term approach combines education, training, behavior change and goal setting with progress tracking, recognition and continuous improvement to reduce energy use in schools, hospitals and other institutional settings.

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Barrie Water Conservation Program  Environment

The City of Barrie, Ontario has deferred millions of dollars in waste water and water supply capital expenditures with its retrofit water conservation program. The City supplied subsidized ultra low flow toilets, showerheads and aerators to Barrie residents over a two-year period.

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Setback Thermostats: Research and Resource Alert  Environment

This alert reviews research and resources relevant to turning down the heat (turning up the air conditioning temperature) - either by hand or using a setback thermostat - based on a report from Toronto Public Health.

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Most Recent Energy Efficiency Resources

U.B.C. Campus Sustainability Engagement and Social Marketing Strategy - Review of Related Research and Similar Programs  Environment

This 2013 literature review summarizes behavioral barriers, benefits and interventions related to campus / institutional energy, water and waste-related behaviors.

 

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Making Heat Visible: Promoting energy conservation behaviors through thermal imaging  Environment

Two British studies indicate the value of thermal imaging for making heat loss visible and changing behaviors. Published in 2015.

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Longer-Lasting Actions and Responses to Extreme Events Can Have Great Impact  Environment

This 2018 paper links climate science and behavioural science, estimates the potential impact of behavioural programs, and predicts the three types of behavioural programs with the largest impact.

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Ramp-Up, Dependability and Persistence of Savings from Home Energy Reports  Environment

This 2015 US study finds that energy reductions from Home Energy Reports are statistically significant within two weeks and relatively stable in the short run. 

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Program Impact Attribution  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This document provides a brief summary of options for assessing what portion of any measured behavior changes resulted from your program and what portion resulted from other influences. These options can also be used to attribute the affects of your program on a wide range of related variables such as resources used, pollutants released, accident rates and health status.

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Long-Run Savings and Cost-Effectiveness of Home Energy Report Programs  Environment

This 2014 white paper addresses three primary questions about electricity savings from longer-running Home Energy Report programs and savings after the end of treatment.

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Insights from Smart Meters: Ramp-up, dependability, and short-term persistence of savings from Home Energy Reports  Environment

This 2015 analysis presents easily available data to determine the ramp-up, dependability and short-term persistence of savings in Home Energy Reports (HERs).

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Impact of Comics vs Photographs on Knowledge, Attitude and Behavioural Intentions  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This 2017 study compares two modes of visually presenting information  - one using photographs and the other using cartoons - on audience's knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions.

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Guides from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities  Environment

Provides guides, reports, toolkits and videos to help build stronger municipalities, with resources covering Affordable Housing, Energy, Low Carbon, Transportation Land use, Waste, Water, Women in government

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Fostering a Sustainable Future  EnvironmentSafety

Includes a guide to community-based social marketing, and sections with articles, brief case studies, graphic examples, and an archived listserv.

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CEE Energy Efficiency Program Library  Environment

This public version of the CEE Behavior Program Summary provides a 2015 overview of members' behavioral programs and related evaluations.

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American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) - Behavior and Human Dimensions  Environment

Provides research reports on ways users can change their behavior to save energy, and ways that these behaviors can be encouraged and amplified. Some examples follow.

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Centre for Climate Change Communications  EnvironmentHealth

The Centre's Climate Change in the American Mind program tracks and provides ongoing reports on public understanding of climate change and support for climate policies. Also works with specific intermediaries to influence public dialogue on climate change (e.g. weathercasters, health professionals, and the EcoRight.) Based at George Mason University.

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Community Toolbox  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Includes many annotated links to other web-based resources supporting social marketing and social change

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Contractor-Led Social Marketing: Efficacy of an energy educator home visit in advance of a Building Analyst (Auditor) Home Visit  Environment

Participants who received an energy education visit before an energy audit adopted more low-cost, one-time energy conservation changes such as adjusting refrigerator/freezer temperatures and lowering hot water temperature. However, they did not invest more in home-energy renovations or other costly changes such as replacing inefficient appliances. Read More »

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