U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Federal Energy Management Program

Institutional Change Basics for Sustainability

Graphic of the eTraining logo

Training Available
Sustainable Institutional Change for Federal Facility Managers
: Learn strategies to change behavior to meet sustainability goals by completing this FEMP eTraining course.

Institutional change integrates technology, policy, and behavior to make new sustainability practices and perspectives become a typical part of how an agency operates. For example:

  • Technology provides means to decrease energy and resource use.
  • Policy provides directives to decrease energy and resource use.
  • Institutional and individual behaviors provide avenues to ensure technologies, and policies are used effectively in meeting energy and sustainability goals.

Behavior change is not a replacement for energy-efficiency or renewable-energy technologies. It is people who use these technologies, and their choices and behaviors ultimately determine the extent to which sustainability goals are achieved. Therefore, technology, policy, and behavior change work together to optimize the benefits of sustainability within an organization.

To learn more about institutional change, including why it's crucial for achieving sustainability goals, see Evidence-Based Background Material Underlying Guidance for Federal Agencies in Implementing Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans Implementing Sustainability: The Institutional-Behavioral Dimension.

Institutional Change Principles

FEMP has outlined eight principles that provide a strong foundation for developing strategies to achieve sustainability goals, including those in strategic sustainability performance plans (SSPPs). Each principle is paired with an example of how to help move the idea into action.