RVs are starting to go “green” in what could be an added incentive for consumers to lift the industry out of its doldrums. If the signs at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville earlier this month are any indication, “green” and “RV” can go hand and hand just fine, according to a news release.
Six RV and park model companies boasted products at the show with “Green Certified” insignia on them, provided by the independent certification firm, TRA Certification. TRA has developed a set of green requirements based on the ANSI consensus standard for new construction, which also fits the RV industry.
TRA Certification is a long-time, internationally accredited certifier of quality management systems. In recent months it has turned its attention to the RV and park model industries to implement a set of consensus green requirements from the construction industry that are modified to meet RV and park model construction practices. This is the first time such a program has been applied to the RV industry.
“Everyone has become more green conscious about everything,” said Tom Arnold, president of TRA Certification. “We know the RV industry has a customer-base that is particularly attuned to environmental concerns. This provides a tremendous opportunity for RV manufacturers and dealers to tout this special kind of added value – provided their claims are backed by some agreed-upon requirements that buyers can trust.”
TRA Certification anchored its show presence in the EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC booth, where TRA Green Program Manager Mandy Leazenby described the reception of their first appearance at the annual show as “overwhelming.”
“A lot of people were asking for our white paper on the topic and we had some very enthusiastic responses from dealers as well as manufacturers. RVers are looking for what’s new and this program fills that bill nicely. Especially since we can offer a third-party certification that takes into account companies who are doing right in terms of protecting the environment.
“The TRA green certification insignia we place on complying vehicles aren’t just someone’s opinion but are based upon the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) consensus standard, which is being applied fairly and uniformly throughout the industry,” said Leazenby.
RVs sporting TRA Certification insignia at the show included a top Emerald rating for EverGreen RV units, which were the only RVs to utilize an Energy Star rated roof. Other products receiving certifications from TRA included the Jay Flight travel trailer from Jayco Inc., the Autumn Ridge travel trailer from Starcraft RV Inc., and the Surveyor and R-Pod travel trailers from Forest River Inc. Park models from Woodland Park have also received certification insignias.
A sample of green practices used to make these products includes such things as:
- Cutting wiring to exact lengths to eliminate waste.
- Operating a separate recycling facility.
- Using eco-friendly insulation that is formaldehyde free and contains recycled glass and sand.
- Efficient installation practices for insulation.
- Recycling of vinyl siding.
“There are many ways in which a company can show its greenness,” said Arnold. “Often a company many not even realize what product or practices can be called green. That’s where we can help. Products like awnings, for example, not only provide campsite shade for RVers, but also for the RV, thereby reducing cooling loads.”
“We’re really just getting started with this industry,” said Leazenby. “We will be working with many more manufacturers in 2010 as well as educating dealers about the extra benefits they have to sell. Companies are recognizing the need to market themselves as green and gain the trust of potential buyers. This is yet another way in which the RV industry is growing more sophisticated to meet the demands of their changing marketplace.”
For more information, contact Leazenby, TRA’s green program manager, at (800) 398-9282.
About TRA Certification
TRA Certification is an internationally accredited certification organization which provides ISO 9001 and ISO 14000 certification for environmental management systems, an outgrowth of its parent company, T.R. Arnold & Associates Inc. Founded in 1967, T.R. Arnold & Associates Inc. is involved with every aspect of the industries it serves. With corporate headquarters in Elkhart, Ind., it serves all of North America, Europe, South Korea and the Pacific Rim.