The United States federal government has invoked the Defense Production Act to increase domestic heat pump manufacturing. The Defense Production Act allows the president to pick up the pace of any manufactured materials needed. In this instance, the increased production will help people and businesses save money with more efficient and clean heating and cooling technology.
Heat pumps are already gaining popularity nationwide, with 4 million installed in the country in 2021, up from 1.7 million in 2012, according to data compiled by Carbon Brief. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $169 million in additional federal funding to support the manufacturing boost.
“The president is using his wartime emergency powers under the Defense Production Act to turbocharge U.S. manufacturing of clean technologies and strengthen our energy security,” Ali Zaidi, assistant to the president and national climate advisor, explained in a statement. “This acceleration of electric heat pump manufacturing also shows how [the current administration’s] is advancing American innovation, cutting energy bills for hardworking families, and tackling the climate crisis — a win, win for our economy, our workers, and our planet.”
Photo Courtesy Energy Saver
Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. The new funding focuses on making more highly sustainable geothermal heat pumps, which use buried pipes to tap into the thermal properties of the ground.
By increasing production, the government can also spur job growth, as the more heat pumps manufactured, the more workers are needed to not only install the new products, but also update the aging electrical grid that powers them.
DOE currently has nine projects at 15 sites to bulk up pump and pump component production, including Bard Manufacturing in Madison, GA; Armstrong International in Three Rivers, MI; and Honeywell International in Geismar, LA.
“Getting more American-made electric heat pumps on the market will help families and businesses save money with efficient heating and cooling technology,” Jennifer Granholm, U.S. secretary of energy, said in a statement. “These investments will create thousands of high-quality, good-paying manufacturing jobs and strengthen America’s energy supply chain.”
Heating and cooling spaces are a massive part of American energy consumption. In fact, the drive to keep air inside at a comfortable temperature uses 35% of all U.S. energy consumption. Heat pumps make that process far more sustainable and can also heat water. According to the DOE, heat pumps cut greenhouse gas emissions in half when compared to traditional fossil-fuel gas-powered heaters.
Photo Courtesy Energy Saver
Last year’s climate bill also provides tax credits for heat pumps, further incentivizing the switch for American families. The move toward clean, sustainable appliances is an important part of the nation’s net-zero-emissions-by-2050 goal. A jobs report from Rewiring America says that a “total decarbonization of the economy” can generate not only a healthier environment but numerous high-paying jobs across the country.