One thing all campers share is an appreciation for the natural world. And because our products allow campers to get closer to nature, we feel it’s our responsibility to help preserve it. That’s why we’re constantly researching ways we can reduce energy consumption, reuse excess materials and recycle the byproducts of our manufacturing process. We build our RVs to last for years of travel – and we want to help preserve the environment so it’s beautiful, vibrant and healthy for years to come, too.
Sustainability in Our RVs
With hundreds of components in each coach, prioritizing sustainable materials and design in each RV can pay off in a big way. At a foundational level, designing RVs to use more conscientious building components isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for everyone. Here are some of the sustainable materials and design features in our RVs:
~ Aluminum framing and components used in most of RVs offer strength and durability while reducing total weight, which leads to a savings in fuel usage while towing. And aluminum is a great candidate for recycling – it can be recycled again and again without any degradation of materials.
~Azdel composite sidewalls are an alternative to wood that we use in most of our RV models. They’re lighter, more durable and better at insulating than wood, which allows for less weight while towing and reduced energy use while camping.
~ Our new SŌL – Powered by the Sun solar packages offer a range of solar capability for all our models. Packages begin with solar prep on every model, with further tiers offering options capable of powering larger RVs during off-grid camping. Solar energy is clean, renewable and low-maintenance, which makes it a great way to permanently reduce energy consumption on the road.
~ LED lights used in most of the RV interiors, storage spaces and on awnings provide illumination at a fraction of the energy use of incandescent lighting methods.
~ Awnings come standard on the majority of our RV models, allowing campers to shade their windows as a natural form of climate control in the summer months and in warmer landscapes.
~ With 30 Heartland models under 6,000lbs. dry weight and a dozen under 5,000lbs., we have eco-friendlier lightweight and ultralight RVs that can be towed with a more fuel efficient car.
~ Many of our RVs have available features like bathroom skylights to maximize natural light, and blackout shades that can help keep coaches cool by blocking out intense sunlight, which can reduce total air conditioning use.
~ Finally, thanks to our high-quality manufacturing materials and practices, Heartland RVs have some of the highest resale values on the market, which helps extend the life of our RVs on the road beyond the original owners
Sustainability in Our Plants
In addition to the sustainability features we build into our RVs, we’ve revamped sustainability practices in our manufacturing facilities as well. Our new assembly plants recycle water for reuse when we’re testing RV tanks, and are built with a higher R-value insulation to help conserve natural gas consumption. We’ve installed LED lighting to help reduce the drain on electricity caused by incandescent lighting over long hours of use. And we’ve set a goal to reduce the amount of gas and diesel we use transporting units between the assembly plant and pre-delivery inspection facility by 1,100 gallons per year, minimum, by 2023.
Our Parts Department, has traded in 100% of their traditional gas-powered forklifts in favor of rechargeable electric forklifts. It’s been such a successful initiative that we’re now setting a goal to replace a minimum of 25% of all forklifts in Heartland facilities with electric models by 2026.
Sustainability in Our Manufacturing Processes
As we craft more sustainable RVs in more sustainably-designed facilities, we’ve also adopted a number of methods that improve efficiency in our manufacturing processes. We’ve invested in optimizing saws like the Dimter OptiCut S-50, which reduces wood scrap by 25 percent and reduces aluminum scrap by 20 percent, allowing for more efficient use of materials and less waste.
Our new Stiles StorTeq Panel Storage and Retrieval System optimizes the storage, transfer and cutting of panels as we build each RV. This allows us to conserve energy use by streamlining the transportation of building materials, create a more efficient workflow with fewer stops and starts, and reduce the amount of materials damaged through normal human error. The StorTeq System reduces scrap by 15-25 percent per unit, providing massive savings in resources over the entirety of our manufacturing output.
We also go out of our way to recycle the byproducts of our manufacturing process. Our recycling program includes materials like styrofoam, skids, cardboard, plastic bags, empty aerosol cans, steel, aluminum, wire, steel barrels, and even sawdust, keeping them out of landfills and putting the materials back into circulation.
The Beginning, But Not the End
Although we at Heartland are proud of the strides we’ve made in integrating more efficiency and sustainability into our products, facilities and manufacturing, we recognize that this is just the beginning. Just like we upgrade our RVs from year to year, we’re constantly looking for ways to upgrade our sustainability practices as well. We like to think of sustainability as a road trip – a trip we’re taking one mile at a time, looking for ways to improve our efficiency over the long haul. Because just like a road trip, sustainability isn’t a destination. It’s a journey you take day after day, year after year, and decade after decade to help preserve the incredible beauty and abundance of the world around you. And we can’t wait to see new improvements ahead.