MILWAUKEE — After research, testing, and evaluation, Johnson Controls has selected R-454B, a lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant, to replace R-410A in its ducted residential and commercial unitary products as well as air-cooled scroll chillers. Systems using the new refrigerant will be available for Johnson Controls, YORK, Luxaire, Coleman, Champion, TempMaster, Fraser-Johnston, Guardian, Evcon, and Quantech branded products in North America, as well as specific international markets where codes are in alignment.
This decision was made as the HVAC industry is preparing to phase out high-GWP refrigerants, such as R-410A, which are now being formally addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the recently passed American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. The AIM Act directs the EPA to phase down U.S. hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) production and use by approximately 85% over the next 15 years.
“Utilizing R-454B was a clear decision, but one that took years of in-depth research, testing, and evaluation,” said Chris Forth, executive director of regulatory, codes and environmental affairs, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “This decision maximizes environmental benefits, which will help to avoid, if not completely avert, a second, near-term transition for the unitary sector. As the AIM Act phasedown schedule progresses, higher-GWP fluids such as R-32, while viable today, have the potential to be eliminated as an option due to their high-GWP values. Johnson Controls will continue to evaluate lower-GWP alternatives for future possibilities.”
In addition to reducing environmental impact, R-454B is more compatible with existing R-410A equipment designs, requires less or similar refrigerant charge, and can reduce the energy use of HVAC systems and improve system efficiency.
“It’s important to note that these pending mandates from the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) would only apply to the sale of new residential and commercial unitary equipment as well as air-cooled scroll chillers,” said Forth. “As the pending regulations stipulate a specific manufacturing cutoff date of January 1, 2025, for residential and light commercial unitary products and January 1, 2024, for air-cooled scroll chillers, existing R-410A equipment built prior to that date can be sold and installed indefinitely. EPA and CARB are scheduled to begin their formal rule-making processes this year, which will determine how long of a servicing period will be granted for R-410A equipment currently in service.”