Johnson Controls has selected R-454B, a lower-global warming potential 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 through the recently passed American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. The AIM Act directs the EPA to phase down U.S. hydrofluorocarbon production and use by approximately 85% over the next 15 years.
After evaluating several low-GWP alternatives on a variety of performance and market metrics, such as safety, capacity, efficiency, reliability, availability and longevity, Johnson Controls has determined R-454B to be the best-in-class replacement refrigerant – a decision echoed by other leading HVAC manufacturers. R454B has the lowest EPA SNAP-approved GWP for unitary applications of all ASHRAE classified A2L (low-toxicity, mild flammability) refrigerants on the market today, coming in at 466. This is one-fifth the GWP of R-410A, far lower than the pending 750 GWP limits being proposed and offering the longest-term viability.
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. The similar operating characteristics with R410A will make for a smoother transition for distributors, wholesalers and contractors.
As we approach the refrigerant transition cutoff dates, safety standards and building codes must be updated prior to a widespread market introduction of mildly flammable, low-toxicity A2L refrigerants such as R454B. Extensive, multi-year research and testing has been conducted by ASHRAE, AHRTI and others to ensure A2Ls can be safely deployed. Proper training will be critical to ensure the safe use, transportation and storage of A2L refrigerants. Johnson Controls is committed to ensuring the safe transition to R-454B by providing in-depth training for its contractors and technicians prior to the pending refrigerant transition dates.