In years past, building owners had little choice about what type of exit sign they used in their buildings. But today, at least five types of exit signs are widely purchased: incandescent signs, compact fluorescent signs, LED signs, Tritium signs, and photoluminescent signs. As in years past, most commercial and residential R1 buildings in the U.S. contain incandescent exit signs—a situation attributable to the fact that most incandescent signs were implemented at a time when some of today’s more cost effective signs were still in their infancy.
Incandescent exit signs are a financial burden to their owners due to their high electrical usage and a high level of maintenance. In fact, the total cost of only one incandescent sign over the course of ten years is $1,465. As electrical exit signs go, compact fluorescent and LED signs are more affordable, costing $894 and $370 over the course of ten years, respectively. However, no electrical sign will save you as much money as an electricity-free glow in the dark exit sign, of which Tritium and photoluminescent signs are the most popular varieties. But, in terms of overall value and cost savings, photoluminescent exit signs are the superior exit signs for buildings.
Tritium Signs are a type of glow in the dark exit sign that receives its illumination form a dangerous source, powered by radioactive capsules that lead to a $75 disposal fee for each sign when they expire.
Photoluminescent Glow in the Dark Exit Signs
Photoluminescent signs, on the other hand, incur no costs beyond their purchase and installation price, and are also non-toxic and 100 percent recyclable. Operating by principle of photoluminescence, photoluminescent signs absorb photons (i.e. ambient light) from their surrounding environment and re-emit them, creating a distinguishable glowing effect that lasts for up to 96 hours in total darkness.