The ’original’ GAP program, tested and improved in 20 countries since 1990, produces measurable behaviour change within a matter of weeks. EcoTeams help households to reduce their impact on the environment andto save money. Typical measured reductions from numerous countries are for instance:
solid waste 40%, energy 12%, water 20%
These effects do not tail off, but continue and even increase over time.
The basic program is delivered through team meetings supported by a coach, and using an EcoTeam workbook. New versions are increasingly automated and delivered via internet – though the element of teamwork and mutual support is still important. So far there is still a trade-off: the team meetings produce the biggest individual results, whereas the internet versions reach far more people.
The program can include calculators to convert savings into one unit: CO2 emissions, or ecological footprint. One version of the program in Flanders, linked to the ecological footprint, is called 100 households save100 football pitches in 100 days.
It has been demonstrated that, given effective leadership, engaging as few as 5–10% of the households in a housing estate in the EcoTeam program will influence the behaviour of the whole community.