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.

Are you looking for case studies in particular topic areas? Please view Topic Resources.

1  2  3  Next Button  Next Button
Sort by:
  Show  5  10  30

Landmark Case Study WaterSense Adds Up to Big Energy Savings  Environment

 This case study is currently under development.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Solarize Boosts Installations and Transforms Solar Markets Across America  Environment

 This case study is currently under development.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study TDM at Seattle Children’s Hospital  Environment

This case study is currently under development.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Virgin Atlantic’s Airline Captains Improve Fuel Efficiency  Environment

 This case study is currently under development.

 MORE »

Norway’s Promotion of Electric Vehicles  Environment

Several policies / incentives, in place over an extended period, have made Norwegians more likely to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) than people in any other country. These incentives have included: exemption from vehicle registration and high purchase taxes, reduced road tolls, free parking, and access to some bus lanes. A similar long-term approach could be adapted for other big-ticket purchasing behaviors where the impact justifies the expense – for example energy-efficient home / building retrofits and appliances. Norway's electric cars are close to zero-emission as 98% of its electricity came from hydropower.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Climate Matters Program for TV Weathercasters  Environment

Climate Matters trains and supports American TV weathercasters to report on the local impacts of climate change while reflecting current scientific knowledge and concerns. The program provides participating newscasters with weekly story packages with local data and broadcast-quality graphics that visualize the data. Because of an overt conflict in the meteorology community about opposing views of climate change, the program engaged a conflict mediator who worked with small groups of opinion-leading weathercasters to surface and work through the entrenched conflicts. As climate reporting became increasingly normative, the program ensured that everyone in the weathercasting community knew the behaviors were gaining in popularity. As of 31 October 2020, there were 968 participating weathercasters in 483 local TV stations, in 92% of all US media markets and 99 of the top 100 media markets. Viewers exposed to their climate education became more likely to understand that climate change is already a 'here, now, us' problem. Designated a Landmark case study in 2021.

 MORE »

Canada-Wide Ban on Menthol Cigarettes  Health

Bans on menthol cigarettes across Canada from 2015 to 2017 led to a significant increase in the numbers of smokers who attempted to quit and who quit successfully, while reducing relapse rates among former smokers. Canada was the one of the first countries to implement a ban on menthol cigarettes, and the first country where such a ban was evaluated.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Heat Loss Images, Norm Appeals Raise Impacts in Medicine Hat  Environment

A Randomized Controlled Trial tested the impacts of providing consumers, on their monthly utility bills, with high-resolution infrared images of their houses, information about their heat loss relative to their neighbors, and estimated savings from improving their home’s insulation and air tightness. This treatment was twice as effective as a traditional Home Energy Report (HER) treatment. This demonstrates the power of visual cues that help make the intangible more vivid, concrete, and actionable. This case study also illustrates how norm appeals can backfire when descriptive norms are provided to those who are already doing “better” than most, without also providing an affirming injunctive norm. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Seattle’s Just One Trip Phase II  EnvironmentHealth

Just One Trip Phase II illustrates the use of Propensity Modelling / Predictive Analysis, Street Ambassadors, Quality Online User Experience (UX), and trip planning to reduce the proportion of single-occupant car trips in Seattle WA, USA. It engaged over 21,000 people and on average participants reduced four drive-alone trips per week per person. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study City of Austin’s Leave Time Travel Incentive  EnvironmentHealth

The City of Austin reduced employee commute travel by one million vehicle miles within six months of making its Leave Time Reward (LTR) a permanent incentive. During this period, the percentage of drive-alone trips fell from 53% to 41%. Attribution of these impacts to the City’s time off incentive policy is strengthened because that policy was introduced in the pilot study, then withdrawn after the pilot, then later reintroduced for the permanent program (Reversal Design.) Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

 MORE »

Way to Go Durham  Environment

This case study covers the formative research and pilot testing of the City of Durham’s Way to Go program with City staff and local university students. It illustrates the value of A/B testing and Randomized Control Trials for evaluating alternative program tactics. It exemplifies the effective use of personalized commute plans distributed en-masse and shows that they can have a substantial impact on travel behavior, even with no added incentives.

 MORE »

London Hydro’s Price Plan Pilot Cuts Peak Use  Environment

London Hydro ran a Randomized Control Trial to test the impacts of real time information (RT), and critical peak pricing (CPP) on peak time residential energy use. CPP participants delivered summer On-Peak and Mid-Peak energy savings that were statistically significant at the 90% confidence level. Adding RT to CPP did not make much difference. Both groups reduced their daily On-Peak consumption by approximately 5% on average, and their Mid-Peak consumption by approximately 3% on average.

 MORE »

Energy Cat Game  Environment

The Energy Cat computer game was piloted with social housing residents in Plymouth, United Kingdom, to motivate and help them learn about affordable, energy-saving steps they could take in their homes. The game provided an average electricity saving of 3.46% and an average gas saving of 7.48%.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study California’s Energy Conservation Competition  Environment

Participants in California’s Energy Conservation Competition work to change energy conservation behaviors in their schools relating to lighting, plug-loads, and mechanical systems. They also develop campaigns to encourage fellow students to communicate with teachers, peers, and administrators about energy conservation practices. This comprehensive program cuts school energy bills by 5% to 15%, and integrates climate education and energy efficiency, with linkages to hands-on job training and career development. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Day Zero: Cape Town Uses Fear Appeal to Avoid Running Out of Water  Environment


Fear appeals must be carefully considered as they can too-easily backfire and discourage people from taking in and acting on our messages. And why spread fear unnecessarily? This case study illustrates an appropriate and effective use of a fear appeal to reduce water consumption in Cape Town South Africa. It tracks 30 years, from the time the City predicted severe water shortages to the point where the taps nearly ran dry and this city of four million people reduced water use enough to avoid disaster. Designated a Landmark case study in 2021.

 MORE »

It’s About Respect - Reducing Sexual Violence in Washington  HealthSafety

It’s about Respect is a program to prevent sexual violence among middle school students. This case study reports on the program’s initial pilot at one school, compared with a control school.

 MORE »

Opting Out in Germany for Non-Renewable Energy  Environment

While many people in Germany say they would use green energy if presented with a choice, very few consumers do so. In contrast, most people have been using green energy in a few German municipalities where citizens have had to opt out for non-renewable energy supplies rather than having to opt-in to get renewable ones. This case study presents their experiences and illustrates the value of randomized control trials (RCTs) for measuring program impacts.

 MORE »

BART Perks 2  Environment

BART Perks Phase II used a Smartphone-based platform to incentivize shifts in public transit trips that reduced peak demand. The approach proved cost-effective relative to the average fare associated with each freed-up seat. At full-scale, the approach was predicted to be cost-effective relative to purchasing and maintaining more transit cars. This six-month randomized control study took place in San Francisco during the first half of 2019.

 MORE »

Port of San Diego  Environment

The Port of San Diego’s (Port’s) Green Business Network (Network) is an integrated energy efficiency and sustainability program that educates tenant businesses on sustainable business practices and identifies resources to implement building and operational improvements. The Green Business Network provides a forum for businesses across the Port’s five member cities to network on sustainability best practices. Between 2010 and 2017, participating businesses reduced energy use by 10.8 million kWh and 300,000 therms.

 MORE »

The Bullying Prevention Program  HealthSafety

2018 Overview, Pennsylvania USA

The Bullying Prevention Program (BPP) reduced bullying problems in Norwegian schools by up to 50 percent. Actively involving students, school staff, and parents in restructuring their school environment created a safe and learning one, and lessened the number of opportunities and rewards for bullying. BPP has been replicated in American, Canadian, and European schools with positive, although less dramatic results.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study RE100  Environment

 

RE100 is a global, collaborative initiative that is accelerating a shift in corporate energy purchasing to reduce global carbon emissions and buy energy from renewable sources. Members commit to public disclosure of progress, with third-party verification providing social proof and accountability. Participation also involves inter-company comparisons and norming to a common goal of 100% renewable electricity. High-profile external public relations events enhance value for membership and sustain pressure for member companies to keep commitments, thereby ensuring persistence of campaign impacts. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2019.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Europe’s Energy Neighborhoods  Environment

Europe’s Energy Neighbourhoods program engaged neighbourhoods to ‘bet’ with their municipalities that they could reduce energy use by at least 9% over a four-month time period, with no investments in technology allowed. Each neighbourhood was supported by an “Energy Master”, an enthusiastic individual who acted as coordinator for the group and who received specific training to help their group make its energy savings. Those groups that made savings of 9% or more were rewarded with certificates and prizes, and received local media attention for their efforts. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2019.

 MORE »

Stay on the Ground  Environment

The most effective approach to-date at shifting air travel to train travel, and also at promoting the sale of carbon offsets for airplane travel, this approach could also work well for other behaviors that are perceived by the audience as clearly important to do, yet are not being adopted by many people.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Bologna’s Bella Mossa  EnvironmentHealth

Bologna’s Bella Mossa program awarded participants points for walking, cycling or using public transport. Points could be redeemed for discounts or payment towards merchandise and services from 85 retailers, including supermarkets, sports retailers, bike stores, opticians, bookshops, cinemas, restaurants and bars. In 2018, 10,000 people reported taking 995,000 trips by alternative transportation methods, totalling 3.7 million kilometres and saving 711 tonnes of CO2. The program won CIVITAS’s “Bold Measure" award in 2017 and was designated a Landmark case study in 2019.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Energy Connect  Environment

Energy Connect shows that energy savings and occupant comfort can be achieved quickly and persistently in large, complex facilities when building operators and mechanics are empowered to solve building performance issues. Five interventions were tested 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 12.5% attributable to Energy Connect, and all pilot facilities saved energy. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2018.

 MORE »

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. 

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study 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).  Designated in 2017. 

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Chicago’s Go Program  EnvironmentHealth

Chicago’s Go Program is an Individualized Marketing program that helps residents walk, bike, ride transit, and use bike share more frequently, while driving alone less often. Compared with past Individualized Marketing efforts in other cities, the Go Programs have pushed the envelope of inclusive, accessible programming that serves a very broad range of Chicago neighborhoods - and the very high participation rates and positive post-program stakeholder input show that this effort paid off. Because of these successes, the Go Program can serve as a model for other communities looking to integrate equity and diversity in Transportation Demand Management programs. On average, 65% of post-program survey respondents report increased walking, biking, or transit usage because of the program. The program’s behavior-changing results led the City of Chicago to designate funding for additional neighborhoods in the future. Designated in 2017. 

 MORE »

Clean Air at Home  EnvironmentHealth

"Clean Air at Home: Small Steps Make a Big Difference" is a targeted, community-based social marketing campaign that reduces young families’ exposures to environmental contaminants at home such as mould, dust, fumes from toxic cleaners and tobacco smoke. Almost three in four participants changed some of their behaviors and almost one half reported performing all five of the behaviors being promoted.

 MORE »

Landmark Case Study Brisbane's Active Schools Travel Program  EnvironmentHealthSafety

By the end of 2017, Brisbane’s Active Schools Travel Program had engaged over 157 primary schools to reduce single car trips by up to 35% and increase walking trips correspondingly. Half of the students at participating schools travel to school by active means, twice the state average. This program illustrates good use of safety instruction and practice, stamped student passports, norm appeals, competitions, and three levels of recognition and incentives. Designated a Landmark Case Study in 2018. 

 MORE »
1  2  3  Next Button  Next Button
Sorted by:
  Show  5  10  30

Search the Case Studies

Click for Advanced Search »