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

Energy Analysis

Program Evaluation: Purpose and Principles of Peer Reviews

Peer reviews have a clear purpose and core principles.


Peer review is essential to provide robust, documented feedback to EERE program planning. Knowledge about the quality and effectiveness of current projects and programs is essential when designing future programs and/or enhancing existing efforts.

Peer review also provides management with independent confirmation of the effectiveness of its programs. For these and other reasons, peer reviews are used, for example, as part of the evidence accepted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART).

Core Principles for EERE In-Progress Peer Review

  • Managers and staff in EERE will provide resources and other support for the conduct of rigorous, formal, and documented review of all programs and key projects by qualified and independent peers on a regular basis
  • The review process will be tailored to the level of review (activities in an entire program, portfolio of projects, or individual project), to characteristics of the program/project being reviewed, and to the purpose and goals of the review.
  • Peer reviews will provide independent, program-specific feedback to improve EERE program planning, performance, and effectiveness.
  • EERE peer reviews will be conducted in a credible, fair, transparent manner with the highest ethical standards and at the lowest reasonable burden to the EERE community.
  • EERE is committed to a continuous improvement process that involves an internal forum for exchanging experiences about peer review and a mechanism for assessing progress in implementing this guide.