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6 Things You Need to Know About Photoluminescent Exit Signs

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6 Things You Need to Know About Photoluminescent Exit Signs

Emergency egress is one of the most important aspects of building safety. Whether it is navigating your way out during a scheduled fire drill or escaping in the event of an actual emergency, clearly visible exit signage plays a pivotal role. Yet, not all exit signs are created equally. Traditional incandescent and LED exit signs have minimal drawbacks like maintenance requirements and unreliable performance during power outages. This is where photoluminescent exit signs shine as the optimal solution.


Made with advanced luminous materials, photoluminescent exit signs provide reliable emergency guidance without any external power source. They are becoming increasingly popular for both new construction and retrofit applications across Canada. As a premier supplier of Canadian-made, code-compliant tactile and accessibility solutions, we want building owners and managers to be well-informed about the benefits of these innovative signs. 


How Photoluminescent Exit Signs Work?


Photoluminescent exit signs utilize a technology called photoluminescence to continuously glow even without power. Their secret lies in a special phosphorescent pigment, usually zinc sulfide, applied over the sign surface. When this pigment absorbs visible or UV light during the day, electrons inside the material get elevated to a higher energy state. Once the illumination source disappears at night, the electrons gradually decay back to their normal position, releasing the stored photons in the process.


Detailed guide: How Do Photoluminescent Exit Signs Work? A Science Explainer


This phenomenon provides exit signs with the ability to glow brightly for extended hours after a brief exposure to light. Studies show that Ecoglo signs, our premium photoluminescent brand, can retain up to 90% of initial luminance through multiple charge-discharge cycles, ensuring high visibility even after hours of darkness. No replacement batteries or electricity is required for operation, making these signs a reliable egress solution in any emergency scenario.


Six key things you need to know about photoluminescent exit signs


1. No Maintenance Requirements


Unlike traditional exit signs with electrical components, photoluminescent exit signs are completely self-sustaining - they require no external power source or battery backup. Their luminous pigments are charged by fluorescent lamps or natural daylight and continue glowing in darkness for several hours, providing reliable guidance even during prolonged power outages.


The best part is that they are maintenance-free. There are no electrical components like lamps or batteries to replace on a scheduled basis. Building management does not have to allocate time and money for routine maintenance inspections. Photoluminescent exit signs are also more durable and have a longer lifespan compared to LED or incandescent exit signs. With proper charging, the same sign can last for many years with no operational costs.


2. Code Compliant for New & Existing Buildings


All exit signs installed in Canadian buildings are required to meet national and provincial codes like NBCC, OBESPA, AODA, ISO, etc. Photoluminescent exit signs meet and exceed these codes without any challenge. They are suitable for new construction projects and retrofitting of existing buildings.


Section 1024 of the National Building Code of Canada mandates the installation of photoluminescent exit path markings, including signs. UL 924 certification guarantees code compliance. So, opting for photoluminescent signs satisfies all regulatory requirements for accessible and evacuation routes. It allows effortless compliance, saving design and installation hassles.


3. Always Active Guidance


Unlike traditional exit signs that rely on switches and backup power, photoluminescent signage glows automatically without any activation in low or no light conditions. The luminous pigments provide instant, consistent illumination during emergencies for continuous guidance.


Even if there is a total power outage, these signs shine brightly right away without delay. Their glow penetrates smoke effectively for maximum visibility during evacuation. Photoluminescent exit signage eliminates the risk of signs failing to illuminate due to switch malfunctions or drained batteries. People can count on them for uninterrupted emergency egress.


4. Enhanced Visibility & Wayfinding


The low-glare, evenly glowing surface of photoluminescent signs provides optimal contrast and legibility compared to LED exit signs. Their illumination is cast in all directions without shadows for visibility from long distances and varied viewing angles.


Additionally, photoluminescent exit signs can incorporate wayfinding information beyond just "EXIT" markings. Features like directional arrows and coded zone identification help people navigate complex buildings speedily during emergencies. They reduce confusion risks compared to basic exit signs. The path markings provide clear, continuous guidance from start to finish of any evacuation route.


5. Attractive yet Cost-Effective


The most compelling argument in favor of photoluminescent signs is their extremely competitive pricing and high return on investment. With simple self-charging mechanics, they eliminate periodic maintenance and replacement costs of traditional signs over the long run.


Their refined, modern aesthetics also integrate seamlessly into any interior design without looking out of place. So whether retrofitting or new construction, building owners gain form and function benefits at reasonable prices. Additionally, several Canadian government incentive programs promote the adoption of luminous emergency signage for accessibility upgrades.


6. Meeting Unique Requirements of Challenging Environments


Certain structures like arenas, convention centers, stadiums, or airports hosting massive daily footfalls present unique signage challenges. Traditional options may struggle with heavy-duty or rapid recharging needs in such high-traffic locales. Ecoglo signs, however, have undergone strenuous testing to prove resilience against over 10 million foot strikes with negligible fade in luminance.


Their photoluminescent pigment also recharges exceptionally fast with just 30 minutes of typical daily indoor lighting. This enables maintaining regulated glow levels through consistently high exposure-discharge cycles, even in ultra-busy facilities. Ecoglo signs emerge as a one-solution answer for diverse conditional requirements across all project types and locations.


The Wrap


It is important to work with an experienced local supplier accustomed to all applicable codes in your area. We offer code-compliant, high-performance products preferred by authorities across Canada. Our signs enhance facilities and operations while meeting budgets - contact us to start your risk-free evaluation.


Employing code-compliant, innovative exit signage from a credible local supplier safeguards people and peacefully satisfies regulatory compliance requirements. Contact us today to help you make the switch to reliable, cost-effective photoluminescent solutions that match your facility's needs and budget. Our experts handle everything from sign selection to installation support services.