A Quick Reference Guide to Photoluminescent Egress lighting

Whether photoluminescent egress lighting is new to you, or you could use a refresher, this blog provides a simple, yet effective guide to photoluminescent egress pathmarkings, including what they are, where installation is required and why they are required.

Ecoglo: A quick reference guide to luminescent egress lighting

What are Photoluminescent Egress Path markings?

Photoluminescent egress pathmarkings are used to create supplementary emergency lighting system in your building, which compliments the emergency lighting already installed. Luminous egress pathmarkings gain a charge from surrounding light sources and release that light as a bright glow once placed in the dark, meaning if your building loses power, the emergency exit path remains well-lit and easy to follow.

Photoluminescent egress path markings can include step-edge markings, Luminescent exit signs and other directional signage, handrail and perimeter markings and obstruction markings.

Why is Photoluminescent Egress Lighting Required?

In the United States, the requirement for luminous egress path markings began gaining popularity after the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Survivors of the 2001 attacks noted that the photoluminescent egress lighting helped them make it to safety.

Photoluminescent egress lighting is required in new and existing high-rise buildings to act as a fail-safe, emergency lighting system to guide occupants to the exit discharge in all conditions. Luminous egress path markings not only light up the exit path, but mark obstacles or hazards along the path that may not be easily seen in darkened conditions.

What are the Photoluminescent Egress Lighting Requirements?

In order to meet code compliance, luminous egress path markings must meet stringent requirements.

No Back Up Power Required

Photoluminescent egress path markings are required to operate completely independently of the building’s power supply and must not rely on any batteries or back up power in order to operate.

Seen from a Distance

Luminous egress path markings are tested to ensure visibility from a great distance, usually 50 or 75 feet, ensuring occupants can easily spot and follow the directional signage to the exit discharge.

Long-Lasting and Fast Charging

Photoluminescent egress pathmarkings must provide at least 90 minutes of luminance after the power has gone out. Additionally, luminous egress path markings must be exposed to surrounding light sources for at least one hour before the building is occupied and constantly exposed to surrounding lighting while the building is occupied.

Low Level Installation

Photoluminescent egress path markings shall be installed on a low level in order to enhance visibility, as this way they do not cast overhead shadows and can still be easily seen in smokey conditions.

Where is Photoluminescent Egress Lighting Required?

Photoluminescent egress pathmarkings are required in high-rise buildings in Groups A, B, E, I-1, M and R-1 occupancies.

Further, luminous egress pathmarkings are required to be installed within the emergency exit stairwells of these buildings. Photoluminescent egress pathmarkings must installed in the following locations:

  • Step-edges
  • Leading edge of landings
  • Handrails
  • Around the perimeter, either wall or floor mounted
  • On obstacles at or below 6 feet and project more than 4 inches into the egress path
  • Final exit doors

What are the Code Compliance Regulations for Photoluminescent Egress lighting?

Photoluminescent egress pathmarkings are available in a wide range of options, including glow in the dark tape and photoluminescent paint. Rigid vinyl or aluminium based products, however, are the recommended first choice as they provide long-lasting durability and do not require timely maintenance or replacement.

How can Photoluminescent Egress Lighting be Implemented?

The installation of photoluminescent egress pathmarkings is required by international building, fire and life safety codes as well as local building codes. Luminous egress path markings are also required by 3 RCNY 505-1 & RCNY 505-2 and NYC LL.

Additionally, luminous egress path markings must be UL 1994 certified and photoluminescent exit signs must be UL 924 certified in order to meet code compliance.

Photoluminescent egress lighting serves as the building’s last line of defense when emergency strikes. Brightly lighting the egress pathway, occupants and emergency first responders are able to quickly and safely navigate their way to safety with the help of luminous egress path markings.

Ecoglo® offers a full range of luminous egress path markings to outfit your building with a complete, code compliant luminous egress pathway. Our expertly engineered products are tested to ensure durability, longevity, visibility and safety. From step-edge markings to photoluminescent exit signs, ecoglo® has everything you need to create a visibly better egress system!