Commercial Exit Signs – Which Sign is the Least Expensive to Operate?

Commercial exit signs usually aren’t considered a building element that drives up operating cost. But at a time when cost cutting is key to maintaining bottom lines, savvy building owners examine every aspect of their building’s power usage, including exit signage. Despite advances in exit sign technology, most commercial buildings still contain incandescent signs, which are the least energy efficient signs on the market and have the highest maintenance cost. Including purchase price, power usage, lamp replacement, battery replacement, and installation labor, an incandescent sign costs nearly $1,500 to operate over a ten-year period.

How Do Other Commercial Exit Signs Compare?

There are four types of exit signs that compete with incandescent signs: compact fluorescent, LED, Tritium, a photoluminescent signs. For cost comparison, a compact fluorescent sign costs $894 to operate over a ten-year period; a LED signs costs $370; a Tritium signs costs $190; and a photoluminescent sign costs roughly $110. The disparity between these amounts deals mainly with different levels of power consumption and maintenance expense, except in the case of Tritium and photoluminescent signs, which are maintenance-free and electricity-free.

The only cost for a photoluminescent sign is its purchase price, while the cost for a Tritium sign is its purchase price and a $75 disposal fee due to its capsules’ containment of radioactive material. The disposal fee for a Tritium sign can be waived if its owner agrees to purchase a new Tritium sign. But in the green age, most building owners are opting for the most eco friendly version of building elements available. In addition to being inexpensive to own, photoluminescent exit signs are also non-toxic and 100 percent recyclable.

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