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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Familles à énergie positive  Environment

France's multi-year "Familles à énergie positive" program uses peer support groups (eco-teams) to reduce residential energy and water consumption. During the 2014/2015 period, participants reported an average 12% reduction in energy consumption, saving 8,500,000 kWh overall. Between 2008 and 2016 it engaged 90,000 individuals in 36,908 participating households.

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TransLink’s Smart Card  Environment

British Columbia’s TransLink introduced Compass, a travel pass payment system that replaced 150 different tickets and passes. To ensure positive adoption, TransLink brought customers through a series of messaging that generated awareness, created broad comprehension around Compass benefits and features, and educated customers on proper card use behaviour. It achieved a 95% adoption rate within months of closing the gates, and transit ridership increased 4-6% per year following introduction

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Denver’s Schoolpool  EnvironmentHealth

Schoolpool is a dynamic program that gets students to and from school in a safer, more social and environmentally sustainable fashion,using carpools, transit and finding buddies for walking and cycling. Parents and guardians can locate nearby families or search for them along their child’s route to school. The program serves 150 campuses in the Denver region, and more than 19,000 families. 

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Macon Connects  EnvironmentHealth

A temporary network of cycling lanes convinced the community of Macon GA to create permanent protected lanes. One-block sections of street that had previously been made more bike-friendly had not been used much and there was concern that not enough people would actually cycle. The pilot created the largest pop-up bike lane network in the world and tested five alternative kinds of bike infrastructure, from sharrows (painted stripes) to more buffered lanes and protected cycle racks with bollards.

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Landmark Case Study Playa Vista Ability2Change  EnvironmentHealth

Playa Vista's Ability2Change program is a great example of a targeted, strategic approach to transport behavior change. It features careful market segmentation and barrier removal, with different initiatives for different people. In just seven months it yielded a 4.9% decrease in peak time drive alone mode share across the entire community (a decrease of 3.5 percentage points from 71.4% to 67.9%), with corresponding increases in carpool, cycling and transit trips. 

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Chicago’s Go Program  EnvironmentHealth

Chicago’s Go Program is an Individualized Marketing program that helps residents walk, bike, ride transit, and share bikes more frequently, while driving alone less often. Participants have access to free personal support, group activities, and personalized Go Kits full of walking, biking, transit, and bike share information. Local outreach ambassadors help people explore their travel options by engaging residents in dialogue and fostering community partnerships. The program also organizes and leads group events where staff and ambassadors answer questions and provide personal support to help reduce barriers to accessing transportation options. Each program has continued on afterwards as a community-based initiative, independent of the original grant funding. This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

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Capitol Hill In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

Capitol Hill In Motion is a recent evolution of the individualized marketing approach used by King County, Washington State, USA. It illustrates how to further engage communities where most trips are already not drive-alone. With remarkably high signup rates, this campaign also delivered a solid 16% average reduction in drive-alone trips (surpassing the campaign goal and King County’s overall goal of a 10% reduction). This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

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Landmark Case Study Shower Feedback in Switzerland  Environment

The Shower Feedback program provides households with real-time feedback on one specific, energy-intensive behaviour: showering. Participants receive smart shower meters that display feedback on the individual’s energy and water consumption in the shower in real time. On average, participants cut their shower time by an average of roughly 20%, which reduced related water and energy consumption by about the same amount. This program was designated a Tools of Change Landmark case study in 2016. 

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Landmark Case Study Ohm Connect’s #OhmHour Program  Environment

Ohm Connect’s #OhmHour Program pays program participants to reduce their energy at peak times. On average, participants save100-200 kWh at peak times per year per household. While there have been a number of episodic energy efficiency programs in the past, this case study adds three innovative elements: a focus on peak demand with remarkable frequency, flexibility and precision; rich gamification features that encourage user participation; and an optional level of automation that was not available until the recent installation of smart meters and widespread availability of smart devices. Implementation requires no hardware to purchase or install. This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

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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 tested a new hybrid model of comprehensive home performance (HP) contracting to increase participation and energy savings. It offered a streamlined, turn-key service for homeowner 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. The pilot doubled enrollment rates, converted 44% of energy efficiency assessments to upgrades, and doubled average project energy savings. In 2017, this pilot received the American Public Power Association Energy Innovator award. This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

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