Measure and Evaluate Institutional Change for Sustainability
For a Federal agency, the measurement and evaluation step is crucial to ensure institutional change efforts produce successful results for meeting sustainability goals. Therefore, it's also important to integrate measurement and evaluation into an action plan.
The information and feedback behavior change principle suggests that when an organization's performance is evaluated with helpful suggestions to move forward, people and institutions are more likely to change because they are given direction. In addition, the continuous change behavior change principle reinforces the idea that for behavior to have a long-term effect, it must be sustained by continuous attention.
Sometimes the results can be measured by established metrics such as using energy metering data. Other times, assessment may be harder than simply looking it up, such as calculating greenhouse gas emissions. In the case of more complicated evaluations, it is important to consult professionals with appropriate experience. For assistance with finding a professional, see contacts.
Benchmarking is setting goals and measuring progress while implementing institutional change. The practice of measuring progress is useful to serve as a reminder of the goals at hand, and to follow up on the accomplishments and setbacks. In the follow up, by focusing attention on the success to date, one can find the "bright spots" helpful to understanding the organization's strengths and to expand on that success. Benchmarking is also an excellent way of periodically assessing what does not work and why. It thus provides opportunities to focus on the areas needing improvement and test new ideas to yield different results.
Learn more about benchmarking as an institutional change strategy.
Using meters for benchmarking is a crucial first step to determine the amount of energy or water an agency employs through utilities. Metering can provide dashboard systems as well as energy management systems, which can show usage data with varying levels of precision.
For measuring and evaluating institutional change, metering can be useful for:
- Using current data references and expert knowledge to recognize critical end uses
- Classifying little-to-no-cost behavioral interventions, such as changing defaults, critical to end uses
- Understanding the logistical and operational barriers and misconceptions regarding employment in different organizational settings
- Choosing interventions with a high likelihood of acceptance and implementation, as well as payoffs based on primary site surveys
- Employing, measuring, and modifying as necessary
- Broadening scope to more challenging end uses.
Learn more about metering.
How will you make sure these changes last? Periodically repeat the steps in the institutional change process for sustainability. Doing so will help ensure that the goals remain valid, the action plan is still appropriate for your organization, and, perhaps most importantly, that interventions are resulting in measurable change. For more information, see the continuous change behavior change principle.
This is the final step in the institutional change process for sustainability. For information on or to review a previous step, click on it.