Required by international fire, building and life safety codes, luminous egress path markings are intended to enhance the safety and speeds of emergency egress. Photoluminescent egress lighting gives occupants the confidence to quickly exit the building under emergency circumstances. Making these 4 mistakes, however, can create a dangerous egress pathway in your building.
Photoluminescent egress path markings should never be obstructed and should remain in direct exposure to surrounding light sources.
Luminous egress path markings require exposure to a natural or artificial light source to gain a full charge, which allows for hours of glowing light after the power has gone out.
The International Building and Fire Code requires areas where photoluminescent egress path markings be illuminated at least 60 minutes before the building is occupied and for the full duration of the building’s occupation.
To ensure proper charging, the IFC/IBC states, “…the charging source shall be 1 footcandle (11 lux) of fluorescent illumination for 60 minutes, and the minimum luminance shall be 30 millicandelas per square meter at 10 minutes and 5 millicandelas per square meter after 90 minutes.”
As they are subjected to heavy foot traffic, exit stairwells must be outfitted with durable, long-lasting emergency egress lighting systems.
The ease of installation and low cost can entice many building and property managers to choose glow in the dark tape for photoluminescent egress path markings but can end up being a costly and dangerous choice. When installed on step-edges, glow in the dark tape can quickly wear down and become a tripping hazard, or potentially subject your building to code violations. Not as durable as photoluminescent strips, glow in the dark tape can quickly become dirty, negatively affecting visibility in darkened situations. To perform highly, glow in the dark tape will have to be replaced frequently, quickly becoming a costly solution.
Luminous step-edge markings should enhance and modernize the look of your building, while providing step-edge visibility in all lighting conditions and a non-slip grip.
Like glow in the dark tape, photoluminescent paint can seem like an enticing choice for luminescent egress path markings code compliance.
Photoluminescent paint must dry for at least 24 hours between coats and darker items may require multiple coats of primer. To provide a consistent light source, each layer of photoluminescent paint must be applied evenly, allowing for the full drying time between each layer. In addition to labor intensive installation, photoluminescent paint may only glow in the dark for up to 4 hours, noticeably dimming over time, and may end the reach of its life source in just 10 years. Where luminous strips, photoluminescent exit signs and other self-luminous egress lighting products only require exposure to a light source while the building is occupied, photoluminescent paint must be constantly exposed to a light source to provide a glow in the dark. Too much or too strong of lighting, however, can damage the phosphors of photoluminescent paint, resulting in an unreliable light source.
Luminous egress path markings can potentially be a life-saving source of emergency egress lighting, and ensuring you chose a solution that is ready to provide lighting under any circumstance, without intensive maintenance is key.
What seems like a low-cost option upfront, does not always translate to cost-savings in the long run.
Cheaper options like glow in the dark tape or photoluminescent paint can easily and quickly become worn down, negating code compliance and providing an inconsistent and unreliable light source. Without consistent maintenance and frequent replacement, lower-cost luminous egress path markings can quickly create a potentially dangerous egress pathway, resulting in dangerous egress conditions.
Investing in a trusted, durable photoluminescent egress path marking system can end up saving money in the long-term, without the need to put constant effort into timely and costly maintenance.
When it comes to the emergency lighting systems in your building, it is important to choose a reliable, long-lasting solution that meets code compliance. Avoiding these 4 crucial mistakes ensures your building is well illuminated in all conditions.
Ecoglo® offers a full range of luminescent egress path markings for every aspect of a code compliant exit stairway. Our dedicated service representatives are experts in local and federal code compliance and can guide you through the process of creating a custom, code compliant and durable emergency egress lighting system. Create a visibly better egress pathway in your building, with ecoglo®!