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2005 Planning — Co-winner 1

City of Edmonton, Alberta

CO2RE Residential Marketing Program

Population: 666,104

More than 20 organizations first developed the Carbon Dioxide Reduction Edmonton (CO2RE) emission reduction strategy in 2000. CO2RE developed its latest program, Home$avers, in partnership with Natural Resources Canada and delivered it in partnership with Home Depot. Using statistics from Natural Resources Canada, CO2RE produced a series of booklets that provide energy efficiency information specific to Edmonton homes. Residents who participated in Home$avers also had the chance to win an eco-products shopping spree at local Home Depot stores. As a result of the campaign, more than 10,000 residents have become CO2RE members. CO2RE is now developing a membership database that will allow it stay in touch with residents and track energy efficiency improvements across the city.

Background

The City of Edmonton has been incredibly successful in several areas of sustainable development. Early in 2005, for example, Edmonton was one of the first two cities in Canada to complete all five of the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) milestones (jointly supported by FCM and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability). It also boasts one of Canada's leading waste management research centres, has been capturing methane gas from its landfill to provide electricity to homes for several years and won a 2004 FCM-CH2M HILL Award for its Ribbon of Steel multi-use trail.

CO2RE is the city's community-based greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy. Initiated in 2000, the strategy was developed in partnership with the city and a group of more than 20 community and business organizations. It supports the goals of the city's environmental strategic plan.

Even with so many early successes, Edmonton recognized that sustainability involves a commitment to continuous improvement. Working under that philosophy, CO2RE staff saw an opportunity to reduce emissions in the community by targeting the residential sector with Home$avers, a social marketing program to increase home energy efficiency.

Results

  • All those who entered the Home Depot contest were asked if they wanted to become CO2RE members and receive additional information. As a result, more than 10,000 people became CO2RE members.
  • CO2RE continues to work with Home Depot, which has distributed more than 70,000 booklets through its stores. "We usually stay away from distributing booklets because you're never sure the information is going to get into the rights hands," says Mr. Brostrom. "Distributing them at the point of sale, when people have already shown that they're interested in saving energy, means that it's more likely the information will be used." Booklets are also available in electronic format on CO2RE's Web site. More than 7,000 have been downloaded.
  • In combination with the EPCOR discount voucher and the Home$avers series, sales of low-flow toilets increased by more than 80 per cent in 2004 compared to the same period in 2003.
  • CO2RE surveyed 400 Edmonton residents after the launch to determine awareness of Home$avers. Twenty per cent of those surveyed had heard of the program.

Lessons Learned

  • PARTNER WITH THE RETAIL SECTOR. CO2RE's partnership with Home Depot helped spread awareness of the issues. Home Depot prominently displayed the booklets in stores, and, as a result, has increased its sales of energy-efficient products. There were, however, certain challenges to working with the retail sector. "Employee turnover can be high, and a company is driven by different philosophies than government is," says Mr. Brostrom.
  • ENGAGE POLITICAL CHAMPIONS. Mr. Brostrom indicated that councillors have been very supportive of CO2RE's work over the years. "I think that our councillors see the benefits for the community, for employment and business opportunities," he says.
  • USE AVAILABLE DATA TO PROMOTE LOCAL BENEFITS. By using NRCan data, CO2RE was able to cut down on the time and resources required to compile customized information specific to Edmonton area homes. To Mr. Brostrom's knowledge, no other municipality has requested similar information from NRCan.
  • FUNDING CAUSED SOME DELAYS. CO2RE did not secure long-term funding for the series of booklets prior to the launch of Home$avers, which delayed some follow-up activities, such as a membership benefits package.

Partners

  • Home Depot Inc.
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Government of Canada's One-Tonne Challenge
  • Climate Change Central
  • EPCOR Utilities Inc.
  • Partners for Climate Protection
  • Green Municipal Fund
Page Updated: 21/12/2015