YORK® YVFA Free Cooling Chiller Case Study: Friendship Haven Senior Care Community

Case Study

Project At-A-Glance

YORK® YVFA Free Cooling Chiller Reduces Energy Costs

Amid the sprawling cornfields of northern Iowa, the community of Fort Dodge is often subjected to brutal winters; low temperatures can easily dip below zero for days at a time. Yet, even in the midst of an arctic blast, some indoor environments require cooling. Such is the case at the Friendship Haven senior care community, where the server room in one of its buildings calls for cooling every day, year-round.


Year-round cooling was a situation that, at one point, posed a significant challenge.

“The existing chiller would just kick on for a couple of minutes to cool things down in this room and then shut off,” said Bob Kahn, account executive with Johnson Controls. “And the constant on-again, off-again churn was taking its toll on the unit.”

Although the chiller was just three years old at the time, it was not designed to run year-round in an environment where ambient temperatures fall below zero. As a result, the long-term reliability and efficiency of the unit was being compromised. Critical chiller components were failing, maintenance costs were mounting and energy costs were rising.


Johnson Controls developed a plan to accomplish two things: to put a stop to the unnecessary wear and tear on the three-year-old chiller (preserving its remaining useful life) and to deliver year-round cooling to the server room efficiently.

The strategy involved installing a chiller designed specifically for cold-weather cooling: The YORK® YVFA Free-cooling Chiller with variable speed drive. The model is the first of its kind offered by Johnson Controls with free-cooling capability. To meet the winter cooling load, YORK® YVFA uses integrated free-cooling coils to cool the building’s cooling fluid, reducing or eliminating the need for mechanical cooling when conditions allow. At Friendship Haven, the new chiller would deliver efficient wintertime cooling to the server room and, combined with the three-year-old YVAA variable speed chiller, would provide efficient cooling across the entire senior care community during summer months.

The project also involved the installation of new chilled water piping, chilled water pumps with variable speed drives, Connected Services and the modification of chiller sequencing. When combined, these components create a solution that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are expected to deliver overall energy cost savings of up to 30%.


The project’s return-on-investment estimates were based, in part, on data obtained and analyzed through Johnson Controls Connected Services. The program monitors chiller performance, and collects and securely stores operational data in the cloud-based Johnson Controls Remote Operations Center.

For Friendship Haven, the collected data was used to accurately calculate the required wintertime cooling load so that the planned solution was certain to meet the need. The data also allowed Johnson Controls to confidently estimate the projected energy savings, which was then validated by the local utility and helped to secure $171,000 in utility rebates.

The YORK® YVFA Free-cooling Chiller lessens the need for mechanical cooling during cooler months, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced costs.

For more details, download a PDF version of this case study.

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Project at a Glance

  • Project annual savings of $29,000
  • Utility rebates of $171,000
  • Incorporated YORK® YVFA Free cooling Chiller with variable-speed drive and Smart Connected Services