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TRA Certification Brings Green Standards to RV Industry

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Elkhart, Ind. – 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 longtime, 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

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

“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.

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