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.
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.