Johnson Controls announced Tuesday that it would spend $50 million to reduce the use of HVAC market refrigerants that contribute to global warming.

The Milwaukee-based company was a participant in a roundtable discussion at the White House that outlined President Barack Obama’s climate action plan. The administration says that hydrofluorocarbon emissions from U.S. industries – aka greenhouse gases – are expected to double by 2020 and could triple by 2030.

“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 of chiller solutions in Johnson Controls’ building efficiency division.

Johnson Controls says that up to 98 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions from HVAC market equipment is due to energy use and not refrigerants. Wand said some refrigerants used in HVAC construction can reduce efficiency – leading to negative impacts on the environment. 

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

Johnson Controls said it has spent an estimated $26 million on creating low global warming-potential refrigerants for HVAC construction during the last three years.