Back in the year 2000, there was quite a bit of controversy about photoluminescent exit signs. The construction industry had been installing electric exit signs in buildings for decades, and several people felt unconvinced that photoluminescent signs could be as effective and safe. That year, the NFPA shook things up quite a bit: The NFPA 101 life safety code for emergency lighting approved the use of photoluminescent exit signs in buildings.
There was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the decision, but makers of photoluminescent exit signs like GloBrite were convinced that photoluminescent signs were even safer than electric signs, and at a lower cost.
In 2009, the NFPA’s decision was affirmed by both the International Building Code and the International Fire Code. These codes apply to the construction of new buildings and the retrofitting of buildings. The code updates came in part as a reaction to a local New York City law that was passed in 2006 requiring that all high-rise buildings in the city be retrofitted to add photoluminescent safety markings to stairwells. After the law was put in place, little was done to police the implementation, so the International Building and Fire codes were updated to push adoption.
Makers of electric exit signs would have you believe that photoluminescent signs are somehow inferior, but both the International Building Code and the International Fire Code have been reaffirmed twice since being put into effect, once in 2009 and again in 2015. According to these current, highly regarded standards, photoluminescent exit signs are just as effective as electric signs, and perhaps even more so.
Building owners who have not made the switch from electric signs to photoluminescent signs should consider the potential benefits. While electric exit signs require a regular flow of energy to operate, photoluminescent signs don’t require any electricity at all. That means that a building owner with 100 exit signs could save about $3,500 a year in energy costs. It also makes photoluminescent signs the more environmentally friendly choice. Plus, GloBrite signs are 100% recyclable.
Photoluminescent exit signs are also more likely to function appropriately in an emergency. Electric signs rely on a backup battery that will keep them lit during a power outage, but if these batteries are not fully drained and recharged once every year as they are supposed to be, they will lose their charge over time and either fail entirely or work for only a limited amount of time during an emergency. Exit signs are required to remain illuminated for at least 90 minutes following an emergency, and GloBrite signs are tested to exceed this amount.
Learn more about why the NFPA, IBC, and IFC affirm the effectiveness of photoluminescent exit signs by contacting the makers of GloBrite signs, Jessup Manufacturing, today.