Project Porchlight

In the average Canadian household, lighting alone counts for 11% of electricity consumption.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, using one CFL bulb results in savings of $50 over its lifetime. Considering the average household has around 30 light bulbs, that’s savings of $1,500.

Besides the monetary savings, if every household in Canada simply replaced one incandescent light bulb with a CFL, we would be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 400,000 tonnes, which is the same as taking 70,000 cars off the road for a year.

Armed with this knowledge, why aren’t more homeowners adopting CFL bulbs? Is it because we don’t care about saving money or the environment? Or is it because we don’t think our actions will make a difference?

Project Porchlight

Project Porchlight is a campaign initiative of One Change, an organization that focuses on making simple actions accessible to the public and increasing participation in conservation and efficiency programs. Project Porchlight is designed to bridge the gap between awareness and action by having volunteers go door-to-door with CFL bulbs to replace old incandescent ones. By partnering with municipal, state and provincial governments, utilities companies and leading businesses, Project Porchlight receives the necessary financial support to carry out its mission.

Project Porchlight aims to empower homeowners with the knowledge that their simple action does in fact make a difference. Project Porchlight meets with community groups and leaders to build their volunteer base. Then these individuals go door-to-door in their community, and to community events such as hockey games, handing out CFL bulbs to their friends and neighbours. Beyond distribution, volunteers inform homeowners of how they can recycle their old light bulbs, and CFL bulbs to ensure proper disposal.

Thanks to local businesses and volunteers, Project Porchlight has changed 3,588,000 bulbs to date.

10 Rules of Social Marketing

Project Porchlight has done a FANTASTIC job of integrating many of the The 10 Rules of Social Marketing  into their campaign. Here is a quick breakdown:


Fantastic 😀 Good 🙂 Hmmm
Be action oriented Don’t rush the campaign process Make the behaviour change public
Target the quick wins Keep it positive, keep it fun Provide reminders and continuous encouragement
Target a specific audience Lose the mask and be authentic
Recognize the influences
Have a positive net impact

Project Porchlight has done a great job at incorporating social marketing principles into their program model. First off, the campaign has identified one simple action that can have a big impact: swapping out incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs. The campaign also recognizes that motivations and barriers may vary, depending on locality. That is why Project Porchlight has put such an emphasis on local sponsors tailoring the campaign with research from the beginning.

Secondly, the campaign leverages relationships with community groups and volunteers to decrease costs and increase impact. We think that this approach is more authentic. Stuart Hickox, the Founder and President of One Change said “Employing this type of approach is key in breaking through the noise and making a difference in the long term”.  

Thirdly, One Change has gone above and beyond many other initiatives, by commissioning independent evaluations of Project Porchlight. This additional step tries to ensure that the campaign is achieving its mission efficiently and effectively; however as discussed in this article, the methodology and analysis in these evaluations varied making year over year comparisons tricky.

Hmm ❓

A gap does exist between Project Porchlight and the 10 Rules of Social Marketing.  Presently, Project Porchlight does not provide reminders and continuous improvement. As a result, homeowners may forget the directions they were provided, and dispose of incandescent and CFL bulbs improperly.

Has this initiative reached your community? We want to hear about your experiences with this campaign.

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