* What: A recreational vehicle dealer in Hixson has begun selling “green” Ever-Lite travel trailers and fifth wheels, which officials say are lighter and have less of an impact on the environment during the manufacturing process than comparable “nongreen” trailers. The company has only two in stock, but plans are under way to procure additional vehicles.
* Companies: Hixson-based Northgate Parts and RV Center and EverGreen Recreational Vehicles of Middlebury, Ind.
* Location: 687 Boy Scout Road, Chattanooga, TN 37343
* How’s it green: Northgate Parts said the new vehicles, which use recycled composite materials instead of heavier wood and other products, typically are about 1,000 pounds lighter than a comparable nongreen trailer. For instance, an Ever-Lite 29RK trailer weighs about 4,900 pounds, while a comparable trailer weighs closer to 6,000 pounds. The trailers are made with a composite roof instead of a normal rubber roof, and composite flooring with a high-quality finish. For the interior environment, the manufacturer says it has eliminated the use of formaldehyde and found ways to “virtually eradicate” out-gassing. All exterior lights are LED, and each vehicle comes with a recycle bin.
* Plans for expanding in future: The company will start stocking more of the green trailers to meet customer demand but plans to stick with the EverGreen brand.
* Is this an essential part of the business focus and why? Customers aren’t demanding green travel trailers just yet, said Northgate Parts manager Tony Thrasher, but people are inquiring about the possibility
* Advice for others: “You’ve got to give them more bang for their buck to get them on the green bandwagon,” Mr. Thrasher said.
Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...