Pulte Homes, one of the nation's largest home builders, was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and manufacturer BASF for building the most homes in the DOE Builders Challenge program last year. Builders Challenge, launched in 2008, is a voluntary energy-savings program with a goal of constructing homes that achieve a rating of 70 or higher on the DOE EnergySmart Home Scale, or E-Scale. The scale allows home buyers to compare the energy efficiency of new houses.

The DOE commended Pulte for “helping to set a new benchmark for production builders by demonstrating the value of high-performance homes,” Ed Pollock, Builders Challenge manager, said in a statement.

The DOE Builders Challenge program hopes to entice home builders to create 220,000 high-performance homes by 2012. The 1.3 million homes expected to be built to the challenge standard between now and 2030 could reduce carbon emissions equivalent to taking 606,000 cars off the road annually, according to the DOE.

Click here to learn more about the DOE EnergySmart Home Scale.