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Food Equipment Basics - Food Service Technology Center (FSTC)

The Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), opened in 1987, is the industry leader in commercial kitchen energy efficiency and appliance performance testing and an expert in commercial kitchen ventilation and building energy efficiency, including lighting, glazing and HVAC. The center is funded by California utility customers, administered by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company with input from the California Public Utilities Commission, and operated by Fisher-Nickel, Inc., an engineering consulting firm specializing in the foodservice industry.

The FSTC develops standardized test methods that it submits to ASTM (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) for review, approval and publication by its Food Service Equipment Committee. ASTM endorsement guarantees buyers and sellers of food service equipment that results will be objective, reliable and repeatable. Manufacturers and end users can then submit equipment for which ASTM standards exist to FSTC for fuel-neutral testing. This information enables purchasers to make more informed buying decisions and allows manufacturers to validate their research and development.

The FSTC consists of a fully instrumented 9,000-square foot appliance research facility capable of measuring energy consumption of both gas and electric appliances under controlled laboratory conditions. Computerized data acquisitions systems gather extensive testing data. A sealed, airtight and heavily insulated calorimeter room allows for accurate refrigeration and ventilation testing. The facility can also measure the non-condensable and condensable particulate matter produced during various cooking processes. A special testing area was designed specifically to evaluate the performance of patio heaters.

In addition to its testing activities, the FSTC hosts seminars, collaborated with the EPA in the development of its ENERGY STAR program for commercial food service equipment, publishes a variety of reports about its testing, and makes several calculator tools available on its website.