I just ran across an article that talks about a builder who is trying to make his homes be made with as many products manufactured in the USA as possible (sorry I cannot seem to find the article Green Building Advisor). I am ashamed to say that this idea had not crossed my mind. However, now that it has, I am very curious to start researching all of the (many many) myriad parts that comprise the large “product” of a Latitude 38 home.

We are in some ways a manufacturing company. We just happen to not make too many products, and they are very large. The best comparison I can think of is a company that makes boats or airplanes. (Note to self: Look up Boeing case studies.) Because our product is so large, and we do not have a warehouse for production (which cuts down on our operating footprint), we need products “just in time.” This requires an exceptional amount of planning on Jeff’s part. In fact, it is what he spends the majority of his mental capacity on. And I must say that he is pretty good at it. It also means that if a part (ie a finish selection) is not decided on in time, it can act as a bottleneck and back up production. Jeff tries to keep multiple lines of production going on the product (house) at any one time in case this happens, but sometimes the options are narrowed. Apart from material delivery, we are dependent on subcontractors. Because of the difficulty of planning for potentially unreliable planning on the part of our subcontractors (in essence partners), we have tried to bring as much labor in house as we are allowed. The so-called trades, HVAC, plumbing and electrical, must be outsourced, as we do not have the licences to complete this work in the City of Charlottesville (and they are fairly difficult to obtain).

But I am straying from the original topic at hand. Made in America. I happen to be ordering plumbing fixtures right now. I have decided to go with American Standard for toilets and shower/tub/bathroom sink faucets. I first went to them because I understand they are quite well made, they have a few simple modern designs, and they are not outrageously expensive. When I just looked up their manufacturing process, I was directed to this page:

American Standard

They say they are trying to produce their goods here at home (I would hope so given their name). The one toilet they say they are producing in the USA under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the Buy American Act happens to be the one I selected. Yeah!

Now to start looking into the hundreds of other parts we use to manufacture a Latitude 38 home…