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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Ten-Day Challenge  Safety

The Ten-Day Challenge is an innovative approach that helps parents and teachers work closely and cooperatively together to reduce violence among children and teens. Since 2003, it has been implemented in over 60 schools across Ontario and Quebec, Canada. Evaluations by parents, students and teachers have shown significant impacts on the everyday life of participants: more time reading and doing physical activity, more harmonious relationships, better attention in class, more respectful language and behaviour at home and school, and less physical and verbal violence.

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Lions-Quest –Skills for Adolescence and Working Towards Peace, Detroit  Safety

The Detroit Public School system significantly reduced violent acts and classroom misconduct in fourteen middle schools. They were part of a two-year research project to evaluate the effectiveness of two Lions-Quest programs, Skills for Adolescence, a life skills program for middle school, and Working Toward Peace, an anger management and conflict resolution program for middle school. Lions-Quest fit easily in the school curriculum and involved the community. Program design made it easy to replicate in other cultures.

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Best's Bicycle Valet  Environment

Want to encourage more people to cycle to special events instead of taking their cars? Here's a great way to make it easier for them to do so. BEST's Bicycle Valet, operating in Metro Vancouver, provides free and safe special-event parking for bicycles and other modes of active transportation, allows event patrons to leave their  helmets, panniers and other cycling apparel, and offers cycling route maps, transit maps and other information about active transportation. The service is paid for by the event organizers and sponsored by Travelsmart.

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Landmark Case Study Cool Biz, Japan  Environment

In the context of Japan's urgent need for energy conservation, Cool Biz and Super Cool Biz have used strong norm appeals to bring about marked reduction in energy use. These programs were designated a Landmark case study in 2012.

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Backyard Composting in Langley B.C.  Environment

Two webinars are currently available that document this program.

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UGA Recycling Bin Feedback  Environment

The University of Georgia, funded by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, designed and tested a recycling bin that lit up and displayed a count with the number of items that had been placed into the bin. The bins with feedback increased recycling rates significantly.

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Boosting Recycling at U. of A.  Environment

A great model of applying CBSM to increase participation in campus in campus recyling programs. The University of Alberta's program increased diversion 8-24% and reduced plastic contamination of organics by 16%.

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Compost Coaching: House-Calls Help Reduce Waste  Environment

This case study is a great model for increasing composting rates, reducing waste generation and reducing tonnages placed curbside for collection through coaching. It also reports on a study of diversion rates from backyard composting that showed that diversion from backyard composting is usually under-estimated.

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Recycle-Bowl: Competition Fosters School Recycling  Environment

Keep America Beautiful created a competition called Recycle-Bowl that uses the Tools of Change to encourage recycling behavior in K-12 schools. The program has been successful at invigorating school development of and participation in recycling programs.

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Rare's Loreto Bay Campaign for Sustainable Fisheries Management  Environment

This two-year campaign by Rare empowered local fishers in Mexico to practice sustainable fishing practices and inspired their communities to support conservation as a way of life.

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Landmark Case Study HSBC Clean Air Achievers  EnvironmentHealth

CAC's HSBC Clean Air Achievers programs provides youth with a chance to meet high profile athletes and be inspired by personal messages to adopt healthier, more active and sustainable lifestyles. The program has dual goals of reducing air pollution and increasing physical activity levels via active transportation. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013. 

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Cool Choices  Environment

Since 2010, Cool Choices has inspired employees to embrace sustainability through an innovative game model. Organizations in sectors as diverse as commercial construction, health care, manufacturing, U.S. primary and secondary schools, and law have had game participants save hundreds of thousands of dollars and avoid tons of pollution annually because of sustainable choices made in Cool Choices games. Post-game independent evaluations have found statistically significant savings in energy (median electrical household savings of 6%) as well as savings in water usage - with the vast majority of sustainable practices continuing a year later.

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Chlamydia Outreach Advice Screening and Treatment (COAST)  Health

COAST’s “upstream” changes made Chlamydia testing, notification and treatment more attractive, thereby increasing testing rates remarkably over the long term.

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Malawi’s BRIDGE Project  Health

BRIDGE was a 6-year behavior change HIV prevention project implemented in Malawi from 2003 to 2009 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (CCP), in partnership with a number of Malawi-based organizations, and with funding from USAID.

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The Healthy Penis Campaign  Health

The Healthy Penis was a humor-based campaign that increased syphilis testing and awareness among gay and bisexual men in San Francisco.

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HoMBReS  Health

HoMBRes—Hombres Manteniendo Bienestar y Relaciones Saludables (Men Maintaining Wellness and Healthy Relationships)—is a sexual risk reduction intervention designed to reduce HIV and STD infection among recently arrived, non-English speaking Latino men in rural central North Carolina. Developed using community–based participatory research (CBPR), HoMBReS includes the systematic selection, training, and ongoing support of Latino men to serve as lay health advisers.

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Drama Downunder  Health

The light-hearted Drama Downunder campaign increased access to diagnosis, treatment and care of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), improved HIV/STI awareness and knowledge, and minimized the transmission and morbidity of STIs in gay and other homosexually active men.

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Cage-Free Campus  EnvironmentHealth

In 2005, The Humane Society of the United States (the HSUS) hatched a plan to replace conventionally produced eggs served on college campuses with cage-free alternatives, by appealing to students’ interest in social issues and addressing administrators’ practical concerns. Now led by The Humane League (THL) in the United States and by other organizations internationally, the campaign has resulted in millions of eggs now sourced from cage-free rather than “factory farming” facilities. A step-by-step playbook showing how to achieve campus-wide support and engage dining service managers guides student leaders implementing the campaign at their schools.

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Rossland Energy Diet  Environment

This is a great example of a home energy efficiency retrofit incentive campaign for smalller communities. It achieved 257 energy efficiency assessments, or 22% of the single-family homes in Rossland. Of those households, 95%+  made some energy efficiency improvements and substantial reductions in energy consumption were achieved . One year later, the program was then extensively replicated within the FortisBC Electrical area and also BC Hydro Electrical areas. 

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Boston’s Challenge for Sustainability  Environment

A Better City’s Challenge for Sustainability has engaged over 100 participating businesses and properties to develop and meet sustainability standards and practices, and to drive local innovation in energy efficiency. The program uses a combination of monthly information and networking meetings, Challenge Coordinators who provide technical and educational guidance one-on-one with participants, benchmarking, utility tracking, and goal setting.

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UBC Energy Reduction Challenge  Environment

This is a great model for generating enthusiasm among students for energy efficiency. To engage more students in energy conservation, UBC adapted a Facebook application called My Every Day Earth to create a point structure for participation that was in addition to the typical kWh meter readings. Users were able to gain points through activities such as: performing 11 actions they pledged to perform each day; creating short films to get their co-residents engaged and thinking about energy conservation; meeting with other students to discuss energy efficiency; and contacting their local politicians about energy efficiency.

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Way to Save Burlington!  Environment

The Way to Save, Burlington! pilot program was a community-based approach to marketing energy efficiency. Unlike many other community-based energy efficiency programs, no new measures were offered and existing rebate levels were not enhanced. The pilot increased active participation in existing conservation programs among all customer segments: residential, commercial, and industrial.

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Recycle Right  Environment

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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