This week, Johnson Controls donated $100,000 to ASHRAE Research during the President’s Luncheon at the ASHRAE 2016 Annual Conference in St. Louis. The funds will help fund research that supports the development of safety standards regarding the use of mildly flammable, low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants.
As the industry looks at alternatives to higher GWP refrigerants, some of the low-GWP refrigerants under consideration, specifically 2L refrigerants, are classified as mildly flammable or flammable. ASHRAE, AHRI, and the Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a partnership to fund vital research that will facilitate and accelerate the safe use of these refrigerants.
“ASHRAE is very appreciative of this contribution from Johnson Controls toward our research on A2L refrigerants,” said David Underwood, 2016-17 ASHRAE president. “These funds will go a long way in our vital research to establish a more robust fact base about the properties and the use of flammable refrigerants. Johnson Controls has a strong history of supporting ASHRAE Research, serving as a Platinum Circle donor.”
The drive to lower GWP for many applications will likely introduce a need to apply refrigerants with flammability where flammability is not commonplace.
“The refrigerants Johnson Controls chooses for our products best fit the needs of our customers and the environment, based on safety, efficiency, reliability, availability and cost,” said Laura Wand, vice president of global chillers, Johnson Controls Building Efficiency Business. “Johnson Controls maintains flammable or toxic refrigerants should not be used if a safer, comparable alternative is available and offers the same efficiency performance or better.”
Johnson Controls is also involved in discussions associated with the Global Refrigerant Management Initiative (GRMI) that are being led by AHRI, The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and the Brazilian Association for HVACR. The subject of these discussions is the development and standardization of service technician and operator training for the safe use of mildly flammable, low-GWP refrigerants.
The company is on schedule to meet two additional commitments: expanding the availability of high-efficiency, low-GWP refrigerant options in its commercial air-conditioning and refrigeration product portfolio, and developing aftermarket retrofit services for customers that desire to convert their existing equipment to low-GWP refrigerants.