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 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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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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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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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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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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Landmark Case Study Love to Ride  EnvironmentHealth

This workplace cycling program uses 'stage of change' to segment participants and cost-effectively tailor communications with them. By targeting information and tools specific to individual users, participants are moved along a personal journey of change. Also innovative are its use of mobile platforms like cell phones and tablets to reach the right people with the right information at the right time. Originally developed in New Zealand, this program has now been replicated in continental Europe, the UK, US and Australia.In 2015, the Love to Ride programme will be expanded further across the US, UK and into Continental Europe. The full case study will be written, based on the Landmark webinar that will be presented On January 28, 2015. 

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Landmark Case Study Bicycle Friendly Communities Program  EnvironmentHealthSafety

The BFC Program is a positive, upstream, results-oriented program designed to get municipal decision makers thinking about how all of their programs around cycling work complementary to one another, and how those programs can be synergistically improved. It provides recognition for the hard work done by municipal staff, the leadership displayed by municipal politicians and the partnerships developed with local cycling organizations. It gives communities that apply both a measure of where they are and a roadmap into the future, using a feedback system that has been developed and refined with input from stakeholders from all areas of transportation issues. This case study is now being written, based on the Landmark webinar that will presented on March 17, 2015.

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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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Landmark Case Study Stockholm Congestion Pricing  EnvironmentSafety

The Stockholm congestion charge is a tax levied on vehicles entering and exiting the inner city. After a seven-month trial, followed by a referendum, the charges were made permanent and the traffic reductions of 20% have held constant ever since. This case study features strong, ongoing impact data. It is a rare example of introducing then removing and then reintroducing an intervention. It speaks to the importance of timing referendums after rather than before trials or pilots, and to the dynamics of shifting public opinion. It also shows that congestion pricing can be popular, work well, and generate significant additional funds for municipalities. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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