Awards, Commercial, Manufacturers

Johnson Controls Named by Analysts as Leaders in Connected Chillers

August 05, 2022

Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), has been recognized by independent analyst firm Frost & Sullivan with its Best Practices Customer Value Leadership Award for 2022. The assessment, covering chiller systems in buildings in North America, pitted Johnson Controls against global peers and roundly praised the company’s technology and customer service as market leading.

Vijay Sankaran

“Chiller systems can account for 40% of a building’s total energy demand and they are one of the biggest targets for greenhouse gas reduction,” said Vijay Sankaran, Chief Technology Officer, Johnson Controls. “By installing connected chillers, or adding connectivity to existing equipment, we can optimize how a system works – reducing failures and lowering a building’s total energy draw to make serious inroads into its CO2e footprint. The chiller product is itself key but so is the connected digital solution; particularly the AI-enabled predictive and remote diagnostic abilities delivered by our OpenBlue platform.”

OpenBlue Services for Chillers takes advantage of real-time data drawn from more than 200 data collection points on each piece of equipment. For example, monitoring the temperature a chiller is operating at. The data gathered is compared to a model of a ‘perfect chiller,’ a model created from Johnson Controls own statistical data compiled over more than 20 years. In the case of temperature monitoring, an alert is generated if the system readings are off by as little as half a degree from the expected range. This sort of insight allows the OpenBlue chiller experts to identify and deal with potentially critical system issues before they can cause a breakdown. The services are offered for Johnson Controls equipment and products supplied by others.

“Johnson Controls is highly customer-focused as they pay attention to client needs very broadly as well as offering focused market-leading capability with their OpenBlue Services for Chillers,” said Dennis Marcell Victor, Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst. “We were impressed with the proactive AI-enabled capability of OpenBlue especially its ability to extend equipment life and cut downtime in half while generating significant annual energy savings. It’s exactly why we awarded them the Best Practices Customer Value Leadership Award for 2022.”

Evidence of Success

One Johnson Controls hospital customer with a deployment of 100 connected chillers has seen operational and energy savings of over $200,000 in just three months post deployment. The chillers are all monitored constantly with equipment performance benchmarked against a performance index score. If an issue is seen, any at-risk equipment is assigned for deeper root cause analysis. This level of real-time detective work has identified multiple faults and electrical surges before they could damage critical components such as motors and compressors. This has avoided safety shutdowns, expensive repairs and the disruption and elevated energy use from a failing system or part.

Mechanical issues, over-ridden building management system controls and improper preventive maintenance are all common risks that a connected chiller system as enabled by Johnson Controls OpenBlue helps to overcome. More broadly, areas of Johnson Controls leadership and performance in chillers identified by Frost & Sullivan include:

  • Operational efficiency and the potential to reduce chiller system downtime by up to 50%
  • Price/performance value with Johnson Controls offering services contracts enabling customers to move from upfront CAPEX investment to OPEX pay-as-you-go models
  • JCI’s focus on energy savings and sustainability
  • Customer service and adaption based on a continual customer feedback cycle
  • Enhancing customers’ experience/abilities through continual innovation

Services and Security

Johnson Controls OpenBlue Services for Chillers offers on-going optimization capabilities such as remote diagnostics and analysis, and preventive maintenance. By offering chiller energy monitoring or real-time control optimization ‘as-a-service,’ customers can meet their sustainability goals faster by reducing operational energy costs. Digitally enabling a chiller system and managing it with Johnson Controls OpenBlue Services  minimizes energy waste, which can be as high as 30% in unmanaged chiller plants. There is also an increased ability to manage HVAC assets in real-time, so maintaining and increasing equipment uptime. Learn more about OpenBlue services.

“Offering chillers as a service rather than a product moves customers to a model where they pay for outcomes rather than equipment,” said Ganesh Ramaswamy, president, Global Services. “Our new service model for chillers is another industry first and it’s very customer-centric. It amortizes our clients’ chiller system investment, moving from a capital cost to an operating one, and links it to Johnson Controls’ expected performance that we agree in advance.”

Connecting systems such as chillers also requires a born-secure approach to cybersecurity, something Johnson Controls is investing heavily in, as evidenced by the recent acquisition of Tempered Networks. The acquisition has delivered advanced zero-trust based Airwall technology into Johnson Controls digital services. Learn more about the company’s cybersecurity credentials here.

Johnson Controls Leading Brands

Johnson Controls provides chiller systems through the York brand. York systems have been cooling buildings for more than a century and provide the widest variety of water and air-cooled industrial and commercial chillers on the market. With chillers that can run in the widest operating conditions, York has established industry leadership in reducing facilities’ carbon footprints, delivering healthier indoor environments and lowering energy costs.

Johnson Controls Sustainability Leadership

  • Global 100 most sustainable corporations in 2022
    • EcoVadis score in the 98th percentile
  • A signatory to The Climate Pledge and net zero by 2040
  • Founding member of the First Movers Coalition
  • From a 2017 baseline, we have achieved:
    • 41% reduction in GHG emissions
    • 15% cut in energy intensity
    • 28 company sites now sending zero waste to landfill

To learn more about how OpenBlue Services for Chillers leads the way in customer value, click here.

About Johnson Controls

At Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI), 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 more than 135 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.

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