Energy Conservation and Efficiency Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful on-line social marketing resources for those who promote energy conservation and efficiency behaviors. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources.


Latest News

March 26, 2019 Two New Case Study Videos, Full-Length Case Studies. Nominations Due June 3, 2019
Ready for an inspiration break? Need to convince or inspire a room-full of decision-makers? Each of our our new case study videos summarizes a recently designated Landmark case study in under five minutes ... short enough for a break or to show to others at Board, Council and other planning meetings. Our new format features more video-recorded sections of the programs-in-action and of the program managers sharing their perspectives. The full-length written case studies are also now available. Ohm Connect's #OhmHour Peak Time Energy Conservation Program and Fort Collins' Efficiency Works (Neighborhoods), both designated in 2017.. Let us know what you think.

We are now soliciting nominations for 2019. If you have been working on or have seen a particularly effective or innovative approach for changing energy or transportation behaviours, please consider nominating yourself or them (June 3 deadline)

November 4, 2018  Energy Connect Designated Landmark; Three More Case Studies
Energy Connect has just been designated a Landmark Case Study. Landmark designation recognizes programs and social marketing approaches considered to be among the most successful in North America and world-wide. See the full list. In addition, we've just posted two easily replicabale energy efficiency pilot program case studies. View the case studies using the left hand column below.
October 2, 2018  Three New Case Studies; Two New Resources
We've also posted the full case studies for one of our three new Landmark energy case studies: Fort Collins Efficiency Works. We are nearing completion of  the case studies on Energy Star and Ohm Connect's #OhmHour Program. We've also recently added the write-ups for France's Familles à énergie positive program, and added two new topic resources. See the new case studies using the left hand column below, and the resources using  the right hand column below.

Most Recent Energy Efficiency Case Studies

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 Ohm Connect’s #OhmHour Peak Time Energy Conservation Program  Environment

OhmConnect pays participants to save energy when it’s most beneficial to the grid and their wallets. On average, participants save 50-100 kWh at peak times per year per household. This case study highlights three innovative elements of the program: a focus on reducing peak demand with remarkable frequency, flexibility and precision; rich gamification features that encourage user participation; and an option to automate energy savings that was not available until the recent installation of smart meters and widespread availability of smart devices. Designated in 2017.

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Landmark Case Study Energy Connect  Environment

Energy savings and occupant comfort can be achieved quickly and persistently in large, complex facilities when building operators and mechanics see energy savings as part of their job and are empowered to solve building performance issues. This program, called Energy Connect, demonstrates how inherently risk-adverse and cash-strapped hospitals with the primary mandate of patient care, can adopt a culture of conservation without adding any new resources. A package of five interventions, developed using a Design Thinking approach, were tested in healthcare living labs 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% attributable to Energy Connect. Preliminary unverified results in the other three facilities also show energy savings. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2018.

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Landmark Case Study Energy Star  Environment

ENERGY STAR is one of the most effective public sector voluntary behavior change programs in U.S. history. The program was designed with the goal of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the energy efficiency of products. ENERGY STAR sets national specifications for energy efficient products that are in the top 20% of efficiency for the product category. As efficiency in each product category improves, the specification moves up, encouraging continual improvement. Manufacturers that meet the specifications can use the ENERGY STAR label on products and in their marketing. Utilities can set rebate dollars based on a nationally accepted specification which makes it easy for manufacturers and retailers to participate in their rebate programs. Ultimately, consumers can easily identify products that are energy efficient when shopping. This case study was designated in 2017 and is currently under development.

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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 Get Energized, Iowa!  Environment

Get Energized, Iowa! is a highly replicable community-based program that encouraged rural Iowa communities to compete against one another to achieve high gas and electricity savings, based on actual usage.  Designated in 2017. 

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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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The Environment Network  EnvironmentHealth

This comprehensive program utilized several strategies including home visits, incentives and starter kits to induce households to reduce energy, water consumption, waste to landfill and pollution.

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Guelph 2000  Environment

Started in 1993 under Ontario's Green Communities Initiative, Guelph 2000 provided a home visit service that encouraged City of Guelph residents to undertake a wide variety of conservation related actions in their homes, including sustainable landscaping practices.

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In Concert with the Environment  Environment

In Concert With The Environment ( In Concert) is a customizable educational program developed by EcoGroup. It is sold to electric, natural gas, and water utilities in the U.S. who provide the program to local schools free of charge. In Concert teaches about careful use of resources, particularly energy and water use, providing a hands-on, real-life learning experience for students in grades 6-12, and their families.

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Iowa City  Environment

To influence households to reduce natural gas and electricity use, 20-minute home visits were conducted in which conservation strategies were explained, people were asked to participate, and a commitment to participate was requested.

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Jasper Energy Efficiency Project (JEEP)  Environment

To promote energy conservation, Jasper residents received a one-hour home visit in which conservation strategies and a retrofit incentive program were explained. They were also offered energy efficient products, installation included. The JEEP program won five awards, including two from the International Association of Business Communicators.

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Pacific Gas and Electric  Environment

Pacific Gas and Electric was using home audits to encourage residents to improve the energy efficiency of their customers' homes. In order to improve the effectiveness of home visits, the utility trained some of its auditors to obtain commitment from the resident, to frame recommendations in terms of "loss" rather than "gain" and to convey recommendations in a personalized, vivid manner.

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Most Recent Energy Efficiency Resources

(Energy) Behavior Change Programs: Status & Impacts  Environment

This report reviews the variety of energy behavior program options, and the degree to which they successfully change behavior and save energy.

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Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health  EnvironmentHealth

The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health publishes highly credible reports documenting the impacts of climate change on health.

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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.

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

This 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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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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Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report  Environment

Provides two reports documents green power marketing activities and trends in the United States

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Lessons Learned After 30 Years of (Energy Efficiency) Process Evaluation  Environment

This White Paper summarizes lessons learned during 30 years of implementing energy-efficiency programs, collected from interviews with 18 process evaluators. Read More »

The Rebound Effect  Environment

An assessment of the evidence for rebound effects and net economy-wide energy savings from improved (building and transportation) energy efficiency. Read More »

Saving Energy at Home and on the Road: A Survey of Americans' energy saving behaviors,  Environment

By Anthony Leiserowitz, PhD et al, Yale Project on Climate Change, based on a nationally representative survey of 2,164 American adults conducted by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities in the fall of 2008.

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Influencing Behaviours Evidence Library  EnvironmentHealth

Brings many key evidence sources on pro-environmental behavior change together in one place and allows quick access to those freely available online

Themes include: home energy, travel, food choices, waste, shopping

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Centre for Climate Change Communications  EnvironmentHealth

Includes a climate change communication primer for public health professionals, and reports based on ongoing national surveys of Americans' climate change and energy beliefs, attitudes, policy support and behavior

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UBC Campus Sustainability Engagement and Social Marketing Strategy - Review of Related Research and Similar Programs  Environment

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


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Expanding the Energy Efficiency Pie: Serving More Customers, Saving More Energy Through High Program Participation  Environment

Summarizes progam designs and participation rates for U.S. energy efficiency programs in a range of  residential and commercial sectors. 

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

This 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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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.

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