MILWAUKEE — Johnson Controls Inc. donated $100,000 to ASHRAE Research during the ASHRAE 2016 Annual Conference in St. Louis. The money will help donation research that supports the development of safety standards regarding the use of mildly flammable low-GWP (global warming potential) 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 (Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a partnership to fund vital research that will facilitate and accelerate the safe use of these refrigerants. Johnson Controls supports this research.

“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.”

The drive to lower-GWP refrigerants 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.

Today’s financial contribution is just one example of how Johnson Controls is following through on commitments made last fall to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In response to its pledge to offer equipment that can be readily retrofitted with high-efficiency, low-GWP options, the company offers fully future-compatible R-134a screw and centrifugal chillers with the low-GWP refrigerant Opteon™ XP10 (R-513A). Johnson Controls is also involved in discussions associated with the Global Refrigerant Management Initiative (GRMI). The subject 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.

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