Johnson Controls Announces Low-GWP Refrigerants in Scroll and Free-cooling Screw Chillers for the U.S. Market


Johnson Controls, the global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has launched its first air-cooled scroll chiller in the U.S. to use R-454B refrigerant, the YORK YLAA Air-Cooled Scroll Chiller, and the first free-cooling screw chiller in the U.S. to use R-1234ze refrigerant, the YORK YVFA Free-Cooling, Variable-Speed Screw Chiller, driving efficiency of performance and getting ahead of the regulatory curve.

The YORK YVFA Free-Cooling, Variable-Speed Screw Chiller is the first free-cooling screw chiller in the U.S. to use R-1234ze, a refrigerant with ultra-low global warming potential.

R-454B and R-1234ze refrigerants have among the lowest global warming potential (GWP), making the YLAA and YVFA more than compliant with upcoming Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Climate Alliance refrigerant regulations that phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants like R-410A and go into effect starting January 1, 2024.


Johnson Controls selected these refrigerants after years of researching, testing and evaluating low-GWP refrigerant alternatives. By using R-1234ze, the YVFA maintains its legacy performance levels, while R-454B improves the efficiency of the YLAA. By using low-GWP refrigerants, the new YLAA and the YVFA are demonstrating the art of the possible in high-sustainability, high-performance chillers and begin the progression for Johnson Controls to shift to low-GWP refrigerants across its product lines. 

“The YORK YLAA Air-Cooled Scroll Chiller and YORK YVFA Free-Cooling, Variable-Speed Screw Chiller are win-win products that fulfil our commitment to the planet and to our customers,” said Todd Grabowski, vice president and general manager of applied equipment at Johnson Controls. “The balance of performance and sustainability found in these YORK chillers helps organizations reduce their impact on the environment, and their release well in advance of the EPA deadline allows our customers to order a compliant chiller right now.”

The new refrigerant is only the latest advancement to the YLAA line and a demonstration of the Johnson Controls dedication to continuous innovation. Additional YLAA optimizations include an average 4.5% part-load efficiency improvement in 2021 and two compact, high-efficiency models that expanded the product range from 40 to 230 tons in 2022. 

YLAA scroll chillers offer benefits beyond greater sustainability. They’re equipped with two, independent circuits for partial redundancy, and brazed plate evaporators and microchannel condensers enable more efficient heat transfer to help reduce total cost of ownership. Units include full-load and part-load efficiencies that meet or exceed ASHRAE standards, and options include louvers and variable-speed-drive condenser fans to further enhance part-load efficiency and reduce sound. 

The YORK YVFA with R-1234ze was engineered to meet the same, demanding performance levels of the YVFA using legacy refrigerants. Designed to cool computer equipment, servers and data halls in data centers, the YVFA delivers low operating costs and optimizes energy use. By combining variable-speed drive (VSD) compressors and high-efficiency, air-to-liquid free-cooling coils, the YVFA delivers enhanced efficiency.


About Johnson Controls

At Johnson Controls, we transform the environments where people live, work, learn and play. As the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, our mission is to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places and the planet. Building on a proud history of nearly 140 years of innovation, we deliver the blueprint of the future for industries such as healthcare, schools, data centers, airports, stadiums, manufacturing and beyond through OpenBlue, our comprehensive digital offering. Today, with a global team of 100,000 experts in more than 150 countries, Johnson Controls offers the world’s largest portfolio of building technology and software as well as service solutions from some of the most trusted names in the industry. For more information, visit