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Lighting exit signs with LEDs

Posted on June 14, 2013 Category: LED Lighting Articles

Energy Star has released a new report with recommendations of how businesses can be safer and more cost effective through the use of commercial LED lighting. All facilities accessible to the public require illuminated exit signs that must operate 24 hours per day. 

Many buildings use incandescent or fluorescent/compact fluorescent lights that have a relatively short lifespan and take large amounts of energy to operate. Energy Star suggests companies consider the switch to LED lighting for exit signs.

Exit signs are a familiar sight in public buildings, though many may not realize how heavily regulated they are. All exit signs must be visible in the case of an emergency in order to help people find their way out of the building. These signs are regulated by the Life Safety Code, which holds them to high standards. These include standards for the size, location, coloring and visibility. All exit signs must be illuminated by a reliable light source so that they can be visible at low light levels or through smoke.

During a biennial inspection by the United States Office of Compliance, there were nearly 50 instances of improper exit signage in the Capitol complex alone. The high maintenance-factor of many incandescent commercial light fixtures are often to blame. This can be avoided with the switch to LED lighting.

Benefits of an LED lit sign
LED exit signs are also brighter than other types of lighting, and are more visible because of a greater contrast with their background due to the monochromatic nature of the light that LEDs emit, according to Energy Star.

In the case of a power outage, most exit signs come with a battery back-up to ensure that the signs remain lit. Because LED lights are so energy efficient, this battery back-up is sure to last much longer than it would powering an incandescent or fluorescent light, as LEDs require a fraction of the energy to run compared to an incandescent bulb.

Exit signs can also have emergency lighting nearby. With LEDs, there is the option of a combined sign and emergency lighting system.

Exit signs illuminated by LED lights are both an economical choice, and one that has the potential to save lives.