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McCormick in the Media

Eric Masanet Talks "Vampire Power" on WBEZ’s Worldview

Consumers spend 10 percent of their home energy bills to power devices that are turned off

Eric Masanet, associate professor of mechanical engineering and chemical and biological engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, was interviewed December 3 on WBEZ’s Worldview program.

Eric MasanetThe topic was “vampire power” or “phantom load” — the phenomenon that many appliances, from your cell phone to your toaster oven, remain “on” and utilize power even when you’ve turned off the power switch.

“It’s just a little bit of power per device, but since we have so many devices in our homes and businesses it stacks up to be a lot of energy over the course of a year,” Masanet said.

Roughly 10 percent of a home’s energy bill comes from phantom power, or the power devices are using in standby mode.

Masanet, a McCormick alumnus who joined the faculty earlier this year, is an expert in sustainability topics — particularly life-cycle analysis, the measure of environmental impacts for the entire life cycle of products, from manufacturing to consumption to disposal.

Listen to the Worldview interview.