A medical building has numerous elements to consider when desiring to make eco-friendly changes. Specific design features are required by law to ensure the environment is safe for patients. Additional regulations apply in regards to egress, occupancy, and medical practices. Deciding on a method for improving sustainability in a medical oriented structure can prove to be difficult with the many guidelines facilities must meet. Sustainable hospital building solutions involve further evaluation to ensure all guideline compliance features of a structure remain intact. Self-luminous egress items are a sensible starting point as a facility begins to take steps toward achieving sustainability.
Understanding Egress Code Requirements
Building safety codes require particular items to be in place for providing visibility in evacuation situations. These precautionary objects must be installed throughout egress paths of any commercial or public use structure:
- Demarcation Lines
- Fire Safety Identifiers
- Floor Identification Items
- Egress Path Signs
Each component is essential to providing an easy to follow route during an emergency and supplies enhanced fire safety. Exit safety products consist of green wording with a white background while fire safety items have red lettering. They help individuals by providing information such as:
- Exit Door Locations
- Directional Symbols for Route Identification
- Current Floor Level Position
- Fire Equipment Locations
- Existing Path Obstacles
- Area of Refuge Locations
- Push Features of Doors or Alarms
Demarcation lines are placed along paths, around exit doors, across non-exiting locations, on landings, and along stairwells to create an easy to follow guide for those attempting to evacuate a structure.
What Options Are Available?
Traditional choices include basic signing, marking tape, and incandescent lighted or Tritium signs. These options have been standard throughout public facilities for countless years; however, they are not a good choice when desiring to implement sustainable hospital building solutions. Tritium identifiers, an alternative option for reducing energy usage, introduce the complications of a higher purchasing cost and risky maintenance requirements due to the inclusion of tubes with radioactive chemicals. Basic signing products provide absolutely no visibility in instances of thick smoke or low lighting. Incandescent lighted exit identifiers are reliable due to backup power sources, but increase energy costs and do not guarantee visibility under extreme emergency conditions. Photoluminescent products eliminate the many drawbacks of old-fashioned methods.
How Does Self-Luminous Signing Promote Sustainability?
The concept of sustainability involves minimizing the use of resources from initial product design to the end of use. Products with self-luminous properties have little to no impact on the environment while in use, are recyclable, created with streamlined eco-friendly practices, durable, have a longer lifespan, and do not contain harmful materials. Common signing choices include these flaws when wanting to implement sustainable hospital building solutions:
- Energy Consumption
- Toxic Materials
- Harmful Maintenance Procedures
- Shorter Life
- Larger Number of Installation Materials
Photoluminescent products do not require electricity to be seen and instead release a glow by absorbing energy from nearby light sources. Wiring, backup power sources, testing, and extensive maintenance are removed from the picture. This option decreases the amount of materials contributed to landfills without jeopardizing facility code compliance. Self-luminous exit identifiers supply an easy to implement, cost effective eco-friendly solution.