Johnson Controls Joins White House Roundtable to Phase Down Refrigerants

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Johnson Controls joined private and public sector industry leaders on Sept. 16 in a White House roundtable discussion to phase down the use of high-global warming refrigerants, which are used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Johnson Controls commits to spend over $50 million over the next three years to develop new products and improve and expand its existing low-global warming potential portfolio.

The president’s Climate Action Plan highlights the urgent need to reduce emissions caused by some hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, and is seeking goals, commitments and partnerships that catalyze the transition to more climate-friendly alternatives, where practical. According to the White House, emissions of high-global warming potential HFCs – potent greenhouse gases – are expected to nearly double from current levels of 1.5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 3 percent by 2020, and triple by 2030 if action is not taken.

“We applaud the administration and the regulatory agencies for taking a collaborative approach with industry to manage the phase down in use of HFCs,” said Laura Wand, vice president, chiller solutions, Johnson Controls’ Building Efficiency business.”

At the event, Johnson Controls stressed the importance of considering the energy efficiency of the system when selecting a new refrigerant, not just its low-global warming potential. Up to 98 percent of the total CO2 equivalent emissions over the life of air conditioning equipment can be due to energy use alone, not the global warming potential of the refrigerant contained. According to Wand, some new refrigerants being released on the global market can lower equipment efficiency which will have a negative impact on the environment.

“The energy efficiency makes the greatest impact on the total carbon footprint of a system over its life,” said Wand. “Therefore, when making choices on refrigerants, we cannot sacrifice energy efficiency.”

Johnson Controls has advocated for the interests of its customers during discussions with industry associations and legislators on the regulations and standards related to refrigerants. Similarly, the refrigerants that it chooses for its products will best fit the needs of its customers and the environment based on safety, energy efficiency, reliability, availability and cost.

The company has already spent more than $26 million over the past 3 years in the development of low-global warming potential technologies.