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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Landmark Case Study Class 5 Energy  Environment

This comprehensive, long-term approach combines education, training, behavior change and goal setting with progress tracking, recognition, continuous improvement and social media to reduce energy use in schools, hospitals and other institutional settings. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013.  This case study will be completed based on its Landmark webinar presentation (April 2, 2014) .

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Landmark Case Study Stockholm Congestion Pricing  EnvironmentSafety

Congestion charges were introduced in Stockholm in 2006 as a “trial”, followed by a referendum. The charges reduced traffic across the cordon by 20%, leading to huge congestion reductions all over the city. Perhaps more surprisingly, the initially hostile opinion turned, and the referendum led to permanent reintroduction of congestion charges. The traffic effects have proved persistent in the years since. Designated in 2013. This case study will be completed based on its Landmark webinar presentation (March 11).

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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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Landmark Case Study Burlington’s Ice Rink Energy Competition  Environment

The City of Burlington Ice Rink Arena energy competition employed a low cost community based social marketing approach to significantly reduce energy consumption, associated greenhouse gases (GHG) and energy costs. This approach generated a program return on investment (ROI) of more than 96%. It is applicable to any energy consuming asset (facilities and buildings, vehicle fleet) and is scalable. The approach successfully modified entrenched, long standing staff behaviour towards the desired behaviour of energy conservation, improved facility performance, extended equipment life cycle without sacrificing facility service levels and user satisfaction. Designated in 2013. This case study will be completed based on its Landmark webinar presentation (May 9, 2014).

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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 in 2013. This case study will be completed based on its webinar presentation on April 16, 2014

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Loreto Bay Campaign for Sustainable Fisheries Management  Environment

This two-year campaign 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 Haliburton Communities in Action  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This is a rare, well-documented model for promoting walking and cycling in a small or rural community.

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Landmark Case Study Portland's Smart Trips Welcome Program  EnvironmentHealth

With an average of 15% of the U.S. population moving each year, new residents represent a significant portion of urban dwellers. In response, Portland has refocused its Individualized Marketing efforts and incorporated an innovative and targeted communication strategy to help new residents develop environmentally-friendly and active transportation habits. As a result, the city’s new residents took 10% fewer drive-alone trips and the proportion of their trips taken by green and active methods increased by 14%. This comprehensive approach includes a strong evaluation design and targeted social marketing strategies. SmartTrips Welcome was designated a Landmark (best practice) case study in 2012.

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Landmark Case Study BIXI Bicycle Sharing  EnvironmentHealth

BIXI Montreal is a great example of how to make  urban cycling a more practical and attractive transportation option. BIXI makes it convenient for commuters to cycle rather than drive, especially for frequent, short trips. The system was specifically developed to augment Montreal’s existing transit system and between 2009 and 2013 Montrealers made more than 13 million trips with BIXI. It is a turn-key service that is inexpensive and replicable across many countries and cultures. In addition, by making cycling more chic and attractive, BIXI has had a major impact on cycling in North America.

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Landmark Case Study Stepping It Up  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Stepping It Up, led by the regional transportation authority Metrolinx, illustrates a coordinated, highly replicable, and institutionalized approach for reducing car traffic and increase walking and cycling to school. The program worked with 30 elementary schools in the City of Hamilton and Region of Peel, Ontario. Stepping It Up was designated a Landmark (best practice) case study in 2012.

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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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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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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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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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Landmark Case Study Rewire Behaviour Change Program at U of T Residences  Environment

This case study is a great model for reducing energy consumption through behaviour changes in student residences. Toolkits provide student organizers with detailed discussions of the environmental impact of specific behaviours, implementation strategies for energy conservation, and an assortment of 'action tools'. These organizers use the materials conservation-themed events to set a positive social norm for environmentally conscious activities. This program was designated a Landmark case study in 2010.

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Backyard Composting in Langley B.C.  Environment

Two webinars are currently available that document this program.

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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.

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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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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 Calgary’s Workshift  Environment

WORKshift is Calgary regional initiative to promote, educate and accelerate the adoption of telecommuting. WORKshift works with businesses to implement telework programs for their employees.

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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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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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Landmark Case Study Energy Smackdown Uses Game Play to Involve Community Members  Environment

The Energy Smackdown uses engaging game playing to involve community members in energy conservation, and television and webcasts to make visible the energy-saving efforts of teams of households. The Smackdown is organized into two broad challenges. In the household challenge, participants are evaluated based on their percent reduction in per person CO2 emissions as well as per person carbon footprint. For the team challenge, members of a community or organization work together to expand their impact and organize special challenge events that highlight key issues and raise awareness in the community. This program was designated as a Landmark (best practice) case study by a Tools of Change selection panel in 2010.

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Landmark Case Study Cape Light Compact Smart Home Energy Monitoring Pilot  Environment

This well designed and executed pilot project, which  achieved unusually high energy use reductions among 100 volunteer participants, illustrates the power of real-time feedback, friendly competition, and timely, personalized, credible, empowering communications. Using wireless in-home energy monitors connected to the internet, participating homes received detailed information on how much energy was being used in the home, when it was being used, how much it cost, and actions that could reduce energy consumption and promote savings. In addition, a web-enabled communications network enabled the sharing of energy savings experiences and helped achieve individual and collective energy savings goals. Designated Landmark in 2010.

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Landmark Case Study Green Communities Active and Safe Routes to School (2008 on)  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This case study picks up from our previous one on the early years of Green Communities Canada's national Active and Safe Routes to School Program. It covers the launch of the "school travel planning" approach. Viewpoints are provided from the national, provincial, municipal and school levels. Designated a Landmark case study by a Tools of Change Peer Selection Panel in 2009. Updated in 2012.

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Landmark Case Study Smarter Travel in Outer London: Integrated Marketing in the UK  Environment

This case study involves two boroughs in London England, and illustrates the use of integrated marketing. For each target audience, this approach integrates common messaging and synergistic interventions across multiple communication channels, including partners such as physicians, police, NGOs, and chambers of commerce, as well as home visits that provide personalized travel planning. The initiative also includes cycle training, car sharing clubs, workplace and school programs. This case study illustrates the application of traditional social marketing methods, including formative research, setting measurable objectives, audience segmentation and piloting (including a control community.)

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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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Landmark Case Study Edmonton’s LocalMotion Program  Environment

Edmonton’s LocalMotion project encouraged residents to drive less and consider other modes of transportation. LocalMotion used a combination of special community events, a challenge, and opportunities for hands-on experience of alternate modes of transportation. It promoted both flexible working hours and alternative modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, public transit, and carpooling. To further boost word-of-mouth communication and norm appeal, early adopters of ecoMobile practices were recruited to participate in program planning and promote it to their neighbors and to local policy makers. Designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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Landmark Case Study Power Smart Residential Behavioural Program  Environment

This program is a great example of applying the “loyalty group” approach to progressively engage participants in changing behaviours, using formative research to select target behaviours and design an effective strategy, monitoring impacts on an ongoing basis, and using a “control” group to substantiate program impacts. Because electricity and electricity conservation tend to be a low priority for many British Columbians, BC Hydro has connected energy conservation to the things that people care about through an opt-in loyalty model and a focus on story-telling, co-creation, challenges and individualized feedback. Regular communications repeatedly drive participants back to their Members’ Tool Box, which serves as a ‘hub’. Ultimately, the product mix is designed to increase participant engagement levels on three dimensions: affiliation, (“this is who I am”), resonance (“this is right for me”) and enjoyment (“I like this”). Designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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Landmark Case Study England’s Sustainable Travel Towns  Environment

This project demonstrates how a sustained transportation demand management program can have greater impact when coupled with infrastructure improvements. By investing £10M over a five-year period, three towns in England have decreased car use and increased sustainable modes of travel. This program was designated a Landmark case study in 2010.

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