U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Program Design Phases

Residential energy efficiency programs generally require planning and implementation in four phases. During the Strategy Development  phase, you decide what kind of energy efficiency activities to undertake, and during the Planning phase, you develop detailed plans for program success. You execute program activities in the Implementation phase, and in the Evaluation phase, you assess how well your program is working. Over time, you will likely revisit these four phases, perhaps concurrently, to improve your program’s success.

Select one of the four program design phases to access all handbooks in that phase. The relevant handbooks from all six program components  will be shown.

Strategy Development:

  • Assess the Market  - To establish meaningful program goals and to create program offerings that will resonate with your community, understand the local market and your target audiences for energy efficiency.
  • Set Goals & Objectives - Defined goals and objectives will help you form the basis of your program's design, communicate the value of your efforts to key audiences, and make decisions about your strategies and tactics for implementation and evaluation.
  • Identify Partners - Engage partners and other stakeholders who can help you reach your customers and whose expertise you leverage for your program.
  • Make Design Decisions - Develop a coordinated plan of products and services that your program will offer to overcome market barriers and ensure that your program aligns with the market environment, your partners, and other stakeholders.


  • Develop Implementation Plans - Identify the tasks across program components required to implement your program design and specify the sequence, expected duration, budget, and roles for both you and your partners.
  • Develop Evaluation Plans - Develop a plan to determine how you can best monitor and evaluate program performance and strategies to ensure you are achieving your program’s goals and objectives.


  • Develop Resources - Identify and develop the necessary resources and tools to effectively deliver and manage your program.
  • Deliver Program - Generate demand for your program’s services by executing a coordinated launch across all program components.


  • Assess & Improve Processes - Focus on the continuous improvement of your program activities by tracking and evaluating data, responding to feedback, and modifying strategies when needed.
  • Communicate Impacts - Communicate the results of your program’s activities to staff, partners, and stakeholders to demonstrate the impact of your program and their contributions.