If you've just bought a new home, it doesn't matter how energy-efficient the developer says it is; you need to inspect the house yourself and make some changes. Those changes can help you start saving energy immediately, which in turn will help you save money; however, conserving energy through changes to your home will also help you feel more comfortable than conserving energy by not using things at all.
Proper Appliance Sizes
Home builders like to add luxurious, large appliances to home packages to make the home buyers feel rich, but those appliances may be mid-sized for your purposes. Take a look at the stove/oven and refrigerator and evaluate how much of an appliance you really need; you may find it's better to forgo the package and buy appliances yourself. For example, if you and your spouse bought a house and maybe want to have a couple of kids -- but you're not into entertaining at home or doing really elaborate cooking -- a six-burner, two-oven stove/range combo maybe way too much.
A giant refrigerator might work if you have teens or are in a group of housemates sharing one kitchen, but if you've just bought a place on your own, a smaller refrigerator would use less energy overall and be better at keeping food cold consistently. At the same time, if you are by yourself but run a food blog, that larger fridge could be fine, while a large family that eats out a lot may want the smaller fridge.
Unless the developer has already installed LED bulbs all over the house, go through each room and outdoor fixture, and replace non-LED bulbs with LEDs. Make sure you use bulbs that are rated for outdoor use in the outdoor fixtures; otherwise, the bulbs could fail in adverse weather. You can get LED bulbs in a variety of shapes now, too, from typical round bulbs to chandelier-style flame-shaped bulbs to narrow cylindrical bulbs for small spaces. LED bulbs have dropped in price by so much that you could change over every bulb in a large house at once and still not eat into your budget that much. Just remember that if any of the bulbs you removed are compact fluorescents, those need to be sent to a household hazardous waste facility.
The electrical outlets in your home, even a new home, can be a source of bad drafts. These let cold air in during winter and out during summer, increasing how much your heater and air conditioner need to work. For better energy management inside your home, look for insulating cases at hardware stores that help block those drafts.
Developers have been trying to make new homes more energy efficient, but many times they don't take care of everything. By making these smaller changes yourself, you can help manage energy use inside your home a lot more effectively. To learn more, contact a company like Craftsman Electric Inc.