What is the Defense Production Act?

Biden Administration invokes law to increase production of HVAC systems such as heat pumps.

Earlier this month, the Biden Administration invoked the Defense Production Act to produce several items designed to improve building energy efficiency. Under the terms of the act, the President can require businesses to accept and prioritize the production of materials/assets deemed necessary for national defense. Some of the most notable uses of the law included during the Cold War, when the White House used the act to strengthen the country's aluminum industries. Lately, 2020 saw the act used to maximize the production of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Several sectors were wrapped into the June 6th order, including increasing domestic production of insulation and high-efficiency heat pumps. During their announcement of the act's invocation, the White House talked about lessening the country's need to source these items from potential adversaries, including China. In addition, the White House sees these particular heat pumps as more efficient than some current systems, including condensing indoor gas furnaces, which the administration will seek to phase out by 2029. In their statement, the Biden administration believes leveraging the Defense Production Act will help meet the needs of construction projects that will require heat pumps as part of their HVAC infrastructure. In terms of the following steps, the Department of Energy will be leading the effort. It will gather stakeholders' feedback on this project's scope of work.