Gateway to Foodservice Energy Efficiency

Richard Young, Senior Engineer and Director of Education

The Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) has always been about two things: creating solid energy-efficiency data and sharing that information with the foodservice world in any way possible. Twenty plus years ago, when the FSTC was still in its infancy, we were already creating newsletters and articles– even though we barely had anything to report. Today, we find ourselves with an abundance of information that includes hundreds of reports, presentations, design guides, articles and online tools. Most of this info lives on the FSTC website at but a great deal of it also resides in the heads of the FSTC efficiency gurus.

We’re determined to share our knowledge and experience with you, so we created Beyond the Plate, the FSTC blog, as a fast and easy way to communicate our stories and insights.

Don’t have time to read through an entire design guide but need the real nuggets? Want to keep up with the latest in energy saving technologies? Curious about green building design? Wondering what you can do to operate a more sustainable restaurant? We’ll give you quick insights into all these subjects as well as sharing the answers to questions we get asked by your peers.

Beyond the Plate is the gateway into our world of energy and water efficiency.

This is a really exciting time at the Food Service Technology Center: the lab is running full bore with equipment tests and the field crew is monitoring new technologies in all kinds of different locations. We’re seeing the commercial food service world start to really embrace good energy and water practices. We’ve been at this for a long time and yet we still learn something new every day. Join us here at Beyond the Plate for a taste of the great things to come!

Forecast 2012: Five Things to Look For This Year

Richard Young, Senior Engineer and Director of Education

As the Food Service Technology Center enters its 25th year, things around the lab couldn’t be more exciting. The feeling is that the first 25 years built the foundation and set the stage for the blossoming of efficient technologies that we are just starting to see. Here are 5 things to keep an eye on as 2012 develops.

  • The Rack Oven test-lab has come alive as manufactures step up to the plate and send a whole new round of full-sized rack ovens for efficiency and performance evaluation. These are big, complex ovens and testing guru David Zabrowski will have his hands full fast-tracking these ovens through the lab. Look for new test reports at
  • Rich Swierczyna has been testing a new hood design in the Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Lab. Preliminary results look good – better capture with less air – proving once again that there is always room for improvement in any kitchen technology. Look for that test report at
  • The more we learn about hot water use, the more we are amazed at the amount of energy wasted and the potential for improvement throughout hot water systems. Two passions of research engineer, Amin Delagah, are solar thermal systems and heat recovery. Amin is running multiple field and lab testing projects aimed at proving the viability of these technologies. Capturing heat from the environment and re-claiming heat from the kitchen are two paths towards the net-zero kitchen of the future. Look for hot water research reports at
  • The FSTC just completed the Ice Machine Upgrade and Load Shifting Field Study – The results were really impressive; marking ice machines as a real potential for technology upgrades, dollar savings and potential utility rebates. Look for more built-in intelligent controls in ice machines as well as utility support for shifting these machines to off-peak hours.
  • LED lighting is ready for prime time. It’s still the Wild West, in many ways, in the world of LED manufacturing but the DOE’s lighting facts® program is making it easier to specify and install products that will be cost effective and look good. With the advent of new incandescent lighting requirements and the introduction of LED “60 watt replacement” lamps like the Phillips AmbientLED – the world of food service lighting is going to change quickly and for the better. Join the FSTC’s Richard Young at the National Restaurant Association show for Lighting Up Your Bottom Line: LED Lighting for Maximum Return and Performance.

 The year 2012 marks the end of the FSTC’s first 25 and the start of the next 25. There is plenty to do and we’re looking forward to getting down to business. Our silver anniversary is not the end of the voyage, it’s just the beginning. So, stay tuned as we restock the ship and set sail for the adventures ahead.