TRA Certification Brings Green Standards to the RV Industry

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TRA Certification has developed a consensus standard for independently certifying RVs as environmentally friendly or "green" in terms of materials, components and manufacturing processes.

The green trend has hit the RV industry and TRA Certification Inc. can prove it.

TRA Certification is a green certification company affiliated with T.R. Arnold and Associates Inc., 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 in utilizing consensus standards to certify that buyers are indeed getting an environmentally friendly recreational vehicle.

“We’re just getting started with the RV and park model industries,” says Tom Arnold, president of TRA Certification “We’ve approached this industry because we know it has a customer-base that is particularly attuned to environmental concerns. That includes a growing awareness of the many ways in which we, and the products we buy, can impact our environment.”

Up until now, no green standards have existed for the RV industry. So TRA Certification has turned to its expertise in the modular and manufactured housing industry and adapted the National Green Building Standard that it uses. This is 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 consensus standard to implement the parts that are applicable to the RV industry,” says Mandy Leazenby, green program manager for TRA Certification. “With this well-regarded, existing consensus standard, we provide credibility for any certification that a company or product is indeed environmentally friendly.” Leazenby is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional. LEED is a green building program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

TRA Certification has developed four levels of green certification that companies can promote with special stickers on their products. What these stickers and TRA’s certification process provide is trust, says Arnold. “There are a lot of companies making green claims right now. Sometimes on a very flimsy basis. Customers find these claims often don’t match expectations. They don’t know who or what to trust.”

At the same time, the RV industry has been getting greener in a number of ways, says Arnold.
RVs are using more aerodynamic designs and lighter weight materials to reduce fuel consumption. Motor homes are using more fuel efficient engines. RV and park model suppliers have catered to the green demand with items such as low-flow fixtures and more efficient appliances. Other companies have committed themselves to internal sustainability practices such as reducing paper in favor of more electronic communication.

“There are many ways in which a company can tout its greenness,” says Arnold. “Often a company may 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 their RV, thereby reducing cooling loads.”

Accordingly, by both defining what green standards are and then acting as a third-party evaluator of such green products and practices, TRA Certification gives RVers another reason to buy a particular product and ensures their experience will be as advertised, creating customer loyalty and great word of mouth advertising. “Our certification provides the recognition that a company’s efforts deserve. It’s also great marketing leverage,” says Arnold.

“We will be working with many more manufacturers in 2010,” says Leazenby. “Companies are recognizing the need to market themselves as green and gain the trust of potential buyers. This is another way in which the RV industry is growing more sophisticated in meeting the demands of a changing marketplace.”

For more information contact Mandy Leazenby, TRA’s Green Program Manager, at
800-398-9282 or visit http://www.tragreen.com.

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Mike Knaack
TRA Certification.
574-294-8844 ext. 234
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