Elkhart, Ind.-based TRA Certification Inc. announced the addition of a new mobile app, according to a press release.
TRA is the leading third-party green certification company and its Certified Green RV program measures, evaluates and certifies RV manufacturers and verifies vendors for energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.
Features of the new app include:
• Finding out which RV manufacturers have green certified products.
• Access to TRA’s social media sites and blog.
• Access to informative videos on green certification.
• Ability to contact TRA and share thoughts.
Currently, the app is available on Google’s Play Store but will soon be available on iTunes.
Howe, Ind.-based Cruiser RV LLC’s newly acquired manufacturing plant in nearby LaGrange has been certified as a “Green Capable Manufacturer” has earned TRA Certification Inc.’s “Gold” Certified Green label for its newest travel trailer line, the Enterra.
According to a press release, the facility recycles aluminum, steel, cardboard, copper wire and styrofoam while much of the packaging from suppliers is reusable, versus typical cardboard boxes. LED exterior lighting is standard on these units along with an Energy Star rated television.
Enterra RVs also offer carbon monoxide detectors in addition to the traditional smoke alarm. This practice is mandatory in the residential home construction industry. Enterra travel trailers offer Nitrogen-filled tires, providing a longer life and provide better fuel economy, as they deflate at a much slower rate than the typical ‘air-filled’ tires.
Kropf Industries Inc., a manufacturer of luxury park model homes, has been Certified Green by TRA Certification Inc.
According to a press release, the company’s building practices and materials have earned them bronze status and Kropf is now labeling homes with Certified Green labels. The Goshen, Ind.-based builder reached the requirements for the following evaluated categories: Resource Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality and Operation & Maintenance.
Kropf park model homes incorporate LED lighting, Energy Star refrigerators, low-flow toilets and sustainably harvested OSB. They also recycle cardboard, copper wire, aluminum and steel.
For more information on Kropf Park Models visit www.kropfind.com. For more information on green certification, visit www.certifiedgreenrvs.com or contact Mandy Leazenby at 1-800-398-9282.
Gulf Stream Coach Inc.’s Visa, Gulf Breeze and Streamlite towables, originally Certified Green to the Silver level, have upgraded their certification level to the Gold level.
By making some adjustments in the categories of Resource Efficiency and Water Efficiency, these towables were able to improve their level of green performance, according to a news release from Elkhart, Ind.-based TRA Certification Inc.
The Visa towables incorporate LED exterior lights and use a lightweight composite material for the walls and cabinets. These changes improve fuel economy.
Look for the “Certified Green” labels on RVs to ensure a healthier and more sustainable product
. For more information on Gulf Stream’s Visa, Gulf Breeze & Streamlite towables, visit www.gulfstreamrvtrailers.com. For more information on green certification, visit www.tragreen.com or www.certifiedgreenrvs.com or contact Mandy Leazenby at (800) 398‐9282.
TRA Certification Inc. is sponsoring a photo contest at RV dealerships that sell TRA Certified Green RVs.
The Elkhart, Ind.-based certification firm is awarding $100 each month to a dealer showing a photograph of RV owners next to their green certified RV, according to a news release
Contest entries should be e-mailed to email@example.com with the dealer name, dealer employee name, customer name, customer contact info and RV brand/model. Also, include a short essay on your thoughts on the Certified Green label. (What does it mean to you? What green features are important?, etc.)
Contestants must be at least 18 years old and a legal resident of the United States at the time of contest entry. Only one photo per entry and only one entry per RV dealer employee and customer per month. Photos must show a clearly visible “Certified Green by TRA Certification” label on the RV.
One photo will be selected each month and the winner will be sent a $100 check. Entry deadline each month is midnight of the last day of the month. Winners for each month will be notified the first week of the following month at the e-mail address they provide. Winners will be determined by TRA Certification staff.
For questions, contact Mandy Leazenby at (800) 398-9282.
Gulf Stream Coach Inc. has announced that select products are Green Certified by TRA Certification Inc., an internationally accredited certification organization, according to a Gulf Stream news release.
The certification is based on the following criteria: energy efficient lighting, energy conservation, water conservation, organic and recyclable products, operations and maintenance standards. This certification is another step in the company’s history of environmental consciousness and responsible material selection.
Nappanee, Ind.-based Gulf Stream has utilized green practices for years. It was the first RV company to earn the Indiana Governor’s Award for Excellence in Recycling. Because of these ongoing green practices, TRA certification was quickly obtained.
For more information, contact Gulf Stream Coach at (800) 289-8787.
Jayco Inc. has announced that all of its products, including brands produced by Jayco, Starcraft RV and Entegra Coach, have been “green certified” by TRA Certification Inc., an internationally accredited certification organization.
This makes Jayco the first major RV manufacturer to be 100% green certified and fully-recognized for building products with green manufacturing processes and materials, according to a news release.
There are four levels of TRA’s green rating for RV manufacturers: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald. The majority of Jayco, Starcraft and Entegra Coach products achieved Emerald ratings in three out of five categories (water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and operation and maintenances) and Gold ratings in the other two categories (resource efficiency and energy efficiency).
The Jayco Skylark travel trailer was awarded an Emerald Level Performance Rating, the highest rating available. The 2011 Skylark is light enough to be towed by most SUVs and minivans. It answers the call toward being “greener” than other conventionally built travel trailers of its size by offering standard features aimed at energy efficiency. Green technology such as LED lighting systems throughout help consume less than one-fourth the electricity than conventional lighting consumes, and lamps last about 10 times as long. Double-paned acrylic tinted windows, Azdel™ Super Lite substrate in all lamination and various other “sustainable technology” techniques help keep the Skylark energy efficient.
“Jayco is honored to be the first major manufacturer to receive 100 percent green certification of all its towable and motorhome products and plants,” said Derald Bontrager, Jayco president. “We are proud of the efforts we make to be a ‘green’ company and operate as a good corporate citizen.”
Bontrager said that Jayco has had a recycling program in affect since the early 1980s, adding that Jayco has received several recognitions for its recycling efforts including a Governor’s Award of Excellence.
“Being green-minded is not a new concept at Jayco,” said Bontrager. “A recent report of our efforts in 2009 shows that our recycling efforts and other conservation programs helped us save more than 28,000 trees. We saved enough energy to power more than 600 family homes for an entire year, and saved more than 14,000 cubic yards of landfill space.”
Jayco’s Jay Flight and Starcraft Autumn Ridge travel trailers have been “green certified” by TRA Certification Inc., an internationally accredited certification organization.
The Jay Flight and Autumn Ridge travel trailers were awarded a Gold Level Performance Rating, making Jayco and Starcraft among the first RV manufacturers recognized for building products with green manufacturing processes and materials, according to a news release.
There are four levels of TRA’s green rating for RV manufacturers: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald. The Jay Flight Autumn Ridge travel trailers achieved Emerald ratings in three out of five categories (water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and operation and maintenances) and Gold ratings in the other two categories (resource efficiency and energy efficiency).
Tom Arnold, president of Elkhart, Ind.-based TRA Certification Inc., in explaining the green RV concept, said, “A green RV incorporates environmental considerations and resource efficiency into every step of the development and manufacturing process. The design, construction and operation of a green RV focus on energy and water efficiency, resource-efficient RV design and materials, and indoor air quality.”
“Jayco is proud that our Jayco and Starcraft brands are among the first to be named gold-level green certified products,” said Sid Johnson, Jayco’s director of marketing. “It is one thing to say you are a ‘green’ company but it is an entirely different standard when your company is certified green by an independent testing firm. Operating as a good corporate citizen has always been the Jayco way of doing business. Paying attention to environmental standards and being efficient with resources are just a couple of the ways we can demonstrate that responsibility.”
Johnson stated that other Jayco and Starcraft products have yet to be tested and will be going through the same process in the near future.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC continues to revolutionize the RV industry as the first all-composite, eco-friendly, manufacturer to achieve the TRA Green Certified Emerald Rating for its Ever-Lite travel trailers and fifth-wheels.
The company achieved the rating on Nov. 19 and will be only RV company to introduce its 2011 line of eco-friendly trailers at the 47th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 1-3, according to a news release.
“We formulated the parameters based on the National Green Building Standard and tailored that standard to the recreational vehicle industry,” said, Mandy Leazenby, green program manager for Elkhart, Ind.-based TRA Certification Inc. “We must extend solid congratulations to the EverGreen team, as we were positive an RV company would never achieve our Emerald Certified Green Rating. They proved us wrong. No other Emerald Certified Green companies will be at the upcoming RVIA Show. EverGreen is the only RV company to achieve this status.”
The certification was based on the eco-friendly, all composite, wood free outside wall construction with which EverGreen trailers are built, and the fact that all these materials are completely recyclable. The Certified Green Emerald Status was also based on EverGreen’s lean and green manufacturing processes that recycle all waste and even reuse window and wall cutouts as baggage doors on its products.
“Our team was extremely proud to receive this distinction upon the review of our last audit by TRA,” said EverGreen President, Doug Lantz. “It’s the honored verification of a journey we have all traveled together since we all founded EverGreen. Our vision was always towards the future, to become the RV industry’s first truly green company. We are all very proud to achieve this honor.”
To learn more about EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, visit www.goevergreenrv.com. Write: EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC at 10758 County Road 2, Middlebury, IN 46540 Phone (574) 825-4298 Fax: (574) 825-4299
Editor’s Note: T.R. Arnold and Associates, veteran third-party certification business based in Elkhart, Ind., has entered the “green” certification industry with TRA Certification Inc. The following position paper was provided by the firm.
Green business has become good business. And that is especially true for the RV and park model industries, says Tom Arnold, president of TRA Certification Inc., a green certification company affiliated with T.R. Arnold and Associates Inc. and a long-time, internationally accredited certifier of quality management systems.
“RVers represent 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.”
What that means is that “green” is rapidly becoming a key factor in the public’s buying decisions. And what exactly is “green?”
“A green RV incorporates environmental consideration and resource efficiency into every step of the development and manufacturing process,” says Arnold. “The design, construction and operation of a green RV focuses on energy and water efficiency, resource-efficient building design and materials, and the indoor air quality. A green assessment of a company and its product takes into account the entire impact of both processes and product on the environment — it is a holistic approach to the production process.”
In this environmentally friendly regard, the RV industry has been moving ahead 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 can be called green. Awnings, for example, not only provide campsite shade for RVers, but also for their RV, thereby reducing cooling loads.”
But going green is not simply about pleasing customers, says Arnold. Cutting back on unnecessary waste and utilizing resource and energy efficient products also saves money. Stuart Hart, director of the University of Michigan’s Corporate Environmental Management Program, wrote in Northwest Environmental Journal that, “Wasteful and polluting throughput practices lead to inefficient use of material and human resources as well as occupational and public health risks.” Thinking green, in fact, is thinking bottom line in terms of more efficient, cost-saving practices — something on every company’s front burner these days.
Of course, product appeal is part of that bottom line, and RV and park model companies are eager to tap into the need for more environmentally friendly offerings. But how can companies effectively communicate the green virtues of their product and the company that stands behind it? That is one of the challenges RV manufacturers face, says Arnold. “There are a lot of companies making green claims right now,” he says. “Sometimes on a very flimsy basis. Customers find these claims often don’t match expectations. They don’t know who or what to trust.”
Green certified: what customers can trust
Gaining that trust, says Arnold, is where companies like TRA Certification come in. As an offshoot of T.R. Arnold and Associates, TRA has established itself in the modular and manufactured housing industry as a provider of a third party evaluation that companies can use to support their green claims. Now TRA seeks to do the same for the RV and park model industries and will certify a number of companies by the end of the year. However, for its work to be effective, “We recognized that there needed to be some industrywide consensus of what it means to be green,” says Mandy Leazenby, green program manager for TRA and a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional. LEED is a green building program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Customers need to know exactly what we’re talking about when we say ‘green,’ explains Leazenby. ‘The better we define that, the more credible certification and company claims will be.”
Since no such standards currently exist for the RV industry. TRA turned to its expertise in the modular and manufactured housing industry, using the National Green Building Standard, a consensus standard for single-family dwellings established by the Amercian National Standards Institute, the Association of Home Builders and the International Code Council.
“We’re using this consensus standard as a platform to implement the parts that are applicable to the RV industry,” says Leazenby. “By using this well-regarded, existing consensus standard we provide a lot of credibility for any certification that a company or product is indeed environmentally friendly.”
TRA’s process can be an educational evaluation for any company in terms of environmental best practices. The first step is to certify that the manufacturer is green capable, says Arnold. “We go to the factory and we look at what’s going on with their processes.” That includes examining recycling programs and manufacturing methods to ensure the company is able to produce RVs compliant with green standards.
The second step is to examine the materials and appliances that go into making an RV in order to certify that a specific model is green. In this and other ways, TRA can be helpful in determining exactly what is green and what isn’t. “Any supplier can claim to be green. However, company personnel may not have time to research these claims. We do that for them. And, as I’ve noted, companies may be doing things they don’t realize are green. In this case, we can give them some more talking points.”
The upshot is that TRA’s green certification gives RVers another reason to buy 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.
“With all the environmental concerns that have developed, we clearly need to do whatever we can to protect our earth and the surroundings that we know and enjoy,” says Arnold. “Building green is simply the right thing to do. But companies also need to look at it as a business opportunity. This is the direction in which the world is heading. Companies need green business strategies to make sure they are on the leading edge of this new movement. We’re here to help.”
For more information contact Mandy Leazenby, TRA’s Green Program manager at (800) 398-9282.
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.