T.R. Arnold and Associates Inc. – an internationally accredited certifier of quality management systems based in Elkhart, Ind. – now is turning its expertise to the recreational vehicle industry and the growing desire among manufacturers and consumers for environmentally friendly RVs and recreational park trailers.

Operating under the name TRA Certification Inc., the company already has demonstrated its ability to certify “green construction” in the manufactured and modular housing industries. It has to date certified five companies as green capable and is in the process of certifying several others.

Arnold founded his company in 1967; it now is an employee-owned company. Besides work with factory-built homes and buildings, it also offers a complete line of inspection and consultation services to the RV, cargo trailer and park trailer industries.

In order to certify a building or an RV as environmentally friendly, there would naturally have to be some sort of an industrywide consensus standard of what it means to be “green.” Although there is a consensus standard for the RV Industry, no green requirements exist. So, Tom Arnold, president of TRA Certification, said to implement a standard he turned to the National Green Building Standard to develop a standard — a consensus standard for single-family dwellings established by the American National Standards Institute, the Association of Home Builders and the International Code Council.

“We’re using this as a platform to implement the applicable parts of this for the recreational vehicle industry,” said Arnold. By using an existing standard developed through the consensus process, Arnold feels he is ensuring that any green certification his company makes is legitimately environmentally friendly.

The first step in the certification process is to certify the manufacturer is green-capable. “We go to the factory and we look at what’s going on with their processes,” said Arnold. That involves examining their recycling programs and manufacturing methods to ensure they are able to produce green compliant RVs. “We’re giving the manufacturer who is doing a good job recognition for what they do,” said Arnold.

The second step in the process is to examine the materials and appliances that go into making the RV.

Arnold said that any supplier can claim his materials are environmentally friendly, but “the engineer (at the manufacturer) does not have the time to do the research.” TRA Certification, he points out, does that for the manufacturer.

Arnold said TRA Certification is just now launching its green certification program and he fully expects to have many manufacturers certified by the end of the year. “We have proposals out to several park trailer companies now,” he said.

His staff for the company already is in place. Amanda Leazenby, who has professional accreditation in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the manager of the program. Clay Huth will serve as director of marketing, and Sherman Hansen is a green certification consultant.

For more information on TRA Certification’s green program, contact Amanda Leazenby at 700 W. Beardsley Ave., Elkhart, IN 46514, (574) 264-0745 or visit the company’s website at www.tragreen.com.