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The U.S. Department of Energy hit paydirt when Artistic Homes Inc. of Albuquerque signed onto its Building America Program.
The DOE was searching the country for high-production builders to try out an approach to building homes that would use up to 50 percent less energy. It just so happened that Artistic, New Mexico's biggest home builder, was looking for a way to build a more energy-efficient home.
"We had been talking to experts from around the country for five years. That led us to the DOE, which was very interested in having their industry consultants work with builders to conserve energy," said Jerry Wade, founder and owner of Artistic Homes. "They were able …