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

Federal Energy Management Program

Institutional Change for Sustainability

Graphic showing 5 gears. They progress from Determine Goal to Identify Context-Rules, Roles and Tools to Develop Action Plan to Implement Plan to Measure and Evaluate.

Institutional Change Continuous Improvement Cycle

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) aims to help Federal agencies make sustainability a natural part of how they operate—while continuing to meet their mission goals. Through its Institutional Change activities, FEMP provides guidance and reference materials to help agencies and the myriad organizations within agencies shift their behavior in an effort to save energy and resources now and in the long-term. Institutional change integrates behavior with technologies and policies, recognizing that all three need to align to create make a significant and lasting difference.

The evidence-based guidance about institutional change in this website section draws from social-science literature and real-world experience. Although it focuses on meeting the requirements of Executive Order 13514, Federal agencies can use the institutional change process to meet any sustainability or energy-efficiency goals.

Learn more about the basics of institutional change and associated institutional change principles.


For establishing sustainability in an organization, theĀ institutional change process includes five key steps. Click on a step below to learn more about it.

Refine or Set New Goals

Also see resources to find:

  • Case studies illustrating how individuals and groups have spurred institutional change to meet their organization's sustainability goals
  • FEMP training for implementing institutional change in agencies
  • The evidence-based science behind the institutional change process.