Luminaires & Distribution
Last Update: October 30, 2010
Adjust text size: Decrease text size.Restore text size.Increase text size.

Exit & Egress

Emergency lighting regulations have evolved in response to building fires and other events that led to injury and loss of life to occupants. When a building is evacuated, occupants—including those who are unfamiliar with the building—must be able to find exit doors and stairways that will lead them away from harm. The Uniform Building Code (UBC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code provide regulations and guidelines, but the particular code and version year governing a particular building is determined by law passed by the local authority having jurisdiction. Per the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), all exit signs manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2006 must have an input power demand of 5 Watts or less per face. Regardless of code requirements, it is important for the designer to select exit signs that are visible under the five following conditions: during daylight hours when normal lighting is on or off, during nighttime hours when normal lighting is on or off, and in smoke-filled environments. Refer to the Lighting Research Center’s Specifier Report on exit signs (Boyce 1994) for issues of exit sign visibility.

LED Exit Signs & Egress Luminaires
Light-emitting diode (LED) technology in exit signs provides significant benefits over incandescent and compact fluorescent technology.
More »

Photoluminescent Exit Signs
Photoluminescent materials are a technology that may evolve to be widely useful for exit signs. The sign’s luminous panel requires no electrical connections. It is “charged up” not by electricity, but by normal ambient light, usually requiring a minimum of 50 lux (5 fc).
More »

Emergency Lighting
An emergency light is any luminaire in a building set to run on a backup power source in the event the primary power fails, threatening occupant safety. Emergency lighting units are a common feature in most commercial buildings, with specific requirements defined by life safety codes and standards.
More »

Fluorescent Battery Inverters
Improved compact-size fluorescent battery inverter technology is available for use in conjunction with various linear and compact fluorescent lamps.
More »

Metal Halide Arc Retention

The arc in a typical metal halide lamp will extinguish if it loses power for more than 4 milliseconds. Typically an incandescent quartz restrike lamp was added to those metal halide fixtures on life-safety power.
More »

Concealed Emergency Luminaires

A novel category of egress lighting utilizes MR16 halogen lamps. The luminaires remain concealed in the ceiling or wall behind discreet doors held closed by an electromagnetic switch. When the power fails the doors flip open to permit the recessed lamps to illuminate exit pathways.
More »

Stairwell Luminaires with Integral Controls

Stairs are seldom occupied during normal use. A change with the NFPA 101-2006 requirements is to provide at least 10 footcandles minimum at the walking surface for new stairs. This is an increase from the prior requirement of 1 footcandle minimum.
More »