The requirement of luminous egress path markings by the International Building Code [see IFC 1104.25, 1025] has recently been adopted by many local building codes. The somewhat recent change of requirements may leave you feeling uncertain about which photoluminescent egress system to use, and feeling the pressure of bringing your building up to code quickly.
Luminous egress path markings are used to delineate the exit path, and must operate independently of the building’s electrical circuits. Luminous, or photoluminescent egress systems, absorb light from a natural or artificial light source so when the power fails, the exit path remains lit and easily visible.
Under this broad definition, it seems any glow in the dark path marking product is a good choice for luminous egress path markings. Some products however, like photoluminescent paint, can end up causing more trouble than the luminous light they provide.
On first thought, what could be easier than applying paint? Anyone could do it! The issue is, do you have the time to do it?
Before applying photoluminescent paint, the surface must be carefully prepped and primed. The darker the object is, the less likely it is to glow in the dark, so applying multiple coats of primer is necessary, while allowing the appropriate drying time between coats. Additionally, to dry completely photoluminescent paint requires at least 24 hours.
An easy to follow luminous egress path contains consistent lighting throughout. To achieve this consistency with photoluminescent paint every coat on every object must be the same, not too thick and not too thin. Multiple coats may be required, so ensuring the same amount of paint is applied on every aspect of the egress path could prove challenging. If one aspect of the egress pathway is brighter than other aspects, it can make following the egress pathway difficult.
With ecoglo® products, installation is quick, easy and consistent. Using mechanical fasteners or a premium polyurethane adhesive, each of our luminous egress path markings can easily be installed on a variety of substrates. Ecoglo®’s photoluminescent stair nosings can be applied on carpet, tiles, timber, concrete and more, while photoluminescent paint may only work on concrete stairs. Minimal surface preparation is required before installing ecoglo® luminous egress path markings, without the need of waiting between steps.
Our patented manufacturing process ensures every ecoglo® product produces a consistent, steady photoluminescent light source, providing a well-lit egress pathway throughout the building that is ready to use right away.
Photoluminescent paint requires constant exposure to a well-lit light source in order to produce a reliable glow. If there is a slight change in the lighting, such as a dimming, the charging of the photoluminescent would slow down, taking longer to acquire a full charge.
Moreover, photoluminescent paint is not a reliable option for outdoor applications. Exposure to the sun can actually weaken the phosphors in the paint resulting in a dim glow in the dark effect. Additionally, because of the constant need of light exposure once the sun went behind clouds or set for the day, the charging process would be negatively altered.
In a poorly lit area ecoglo®’s luminous egress path markings can gain a charge that will produce a bright glow, lasting for hours in the dark. Each of our products have been tested to ensure UV/weathering stability, making ecoglo® the best option for outdoor installations as well.
In heavy trafficked areas, luminous egress path markings will undergo heavy wear and tear. Will photoluminescent paint be able to meet the demands of your building?
Just like any paint, photoluminescent paint is sure to chip and decay over time, needing touch ups or replacement. But remember the application process? That must be repeated every time a touch up or complete replacement is needed! Within 10 years, it is likely photoluminescent paint will reach the end of its life cycle, releasing a substantially dimmer glow, if any glow at all, leaving the facility without a reliable luminous egress pathway.
Ecoglo®’s luminous egress path markings have undergone intensive testing to ensure the photoluminescent properties will preform their best for over 25 years. After UV/weathering testing equivalent to 30 years, ecoglo® products showed a loss of photoluminescent brightness that cannot be detected by the human eye.
Ecoglo® products have been installed in facilities across the United States, and around the world. From theatres to arenas and high rise buildings, ecoglo® provides reliable egress lighting, potentially saving lives. When all else fails, ecoglo® will be there to light the way!
We provide everything you need to create a customized photoluminescent egress system in your building. Photoluminescent stair nosings not only provide step-edge visibility but also protect against slips and trips, thanks to the non-slip material that has been integrally bonded into the stair nosing. Don’t forget to add luminous handrails to your stairways to provide safety and support!
Photoluminescent directional signage points patrons in the right direction, enhancing egress speeds in all conditions.