When it comes to exit signs, incandescents have historically ruled the marketplace. However, manufacturers continue to develop more energy-efficient versions of existing product lines or introduce retrofit conversion kits as well as unveil new energy-efficient exit signs that feature self-luminous materials that offer longer life and lower power consumption. Leading the pack of lighting fixtures on this quest for energy savings is the light emitting diode (LED) exit sign.

In an effort to establish standards for and encourage the use of high-performance exit signage, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., recently launched its Premium Exit Sign Program. Unlike other NEMA Premium programs, this effort does not focus strictly on energy efficiency. Instead, its goal is to increase visibility and attract attention. Managed by NEMA, this program is driven largely by the requirements set forth in NEMA EM 1 Exit Sign Visibility Testing Requirements for Safety and Energy Efficiency (http://www.nema.org/stds/em1.cfm), a standard maintained by the Emergency Lighting Section.

Prior to the creation of this program, the only discerning mark used on exit signs was that of the ENERGY STAR program. Based solely on energy efficiency, this program was terminated a few years ago after federal mandatory minimum efficiency requirements were established. Now, all exit signs manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2006, and sold in the United States must have an input power demand of 5W or less per sign face. According to NEMA, this change in labeling left a void in the marketplace because many consumers prefer to acquire and use products that are in some way a step above the rest.

The NEMA Premium Exit Sign Program provides a method for identifying efficient and effective models that are consistent with NEMA performance standards and tested in accordance with applicable UL and CSA standards. Participating products eligible for the program are those that illuminate an integral legally required legend that meet NEMA’s more stringent ‘EM-1 Standard for Premium Exit Signs’. These signs are for installation in accordance with the National Electrical Code (ANSI/NFPA 70) and the Life Safety Code (ANSI/NFPA 101), including exit signs intended for use near the floor. Qualified products of this program bear a special mark that will help lighting professionals and end-users recognize the market’s highest performing exit signage products available and will help support energy-efficient objectives. Any exit sign manufacturer may apply to this program, regardless of NEMA membership.

According to NEMA, this program not only promotes a more energy-efficient environment, but also assists lighting professionals and end-users in recognizing the highest performing, safest, internally lit products on the market.



PRODUCTS

Emergency lighting management system
The Emergi-Lite Nexus emergency lighting management system provides real-time status of an emergency lighting and exit sign system, runs system diagnostics, performs required monthly and annual functional tests, generates maintenance logs, and runs compliance reports from a central control unit. Additionally, the system operates independently of emergency lighting and exit signs. Available in wired and wireless versions, the wired version uses a dedicated data cable network for areas where wireless communication is not possible. The wireless version uses radio frequency (RF) communication and 900-MHz mesh networking technology to penetrate dense building materials, including masonry walls.
Thomas & Betts


Exit and emergency product line
The All-Pro exit and emergency product line (AP Series) has been updated with advanced LED technology and new design features. Consuming less than 1W while in operation, the integration of LED technology allows the reduction in overall unit size of the combination exit/emergency lighting units, which, according to the company, is up to 75% less than traditional units. The new design of the All-Pro combination units (APEL Series) is suitable for any general-purpose application, considering that the overall size of 9 in. wide × 4 ½ in. high × 2 5/16 in. deep enables the product to blend with any décor. In addition, an LED remote head unit has been introduced.
Cooper Lighting


Exit/emergency combo unit
The Exitronix 400C is an aluminum die-cast combo sign that uses a 3W LED lamp source and consumes less than 5W of energy. Featuring a low-profile design, the unit includes a UL-recognized NiCad battery, offers a 90-min emergency run time, and has a 24-hr recharge time, according to the company. In addition, the product features chevron-style universal arrow knockouts and 120/277V dual primary 60Hz input. Available with red or green LEDs, the product comes in a variety of finishes.
Barron Lighting Group


Glow-in-the-dark exit signs
Permalight Acrylic Exit Signs now feature stand-off barrels for installation 1 in. away from the wall. The photoluminescent signs, which are non-electrical and non-radioactive, are listed for high-location and floor proximity installation. Charged by 5 fc (54 lux) of ambient lighting, they release their NFPA 101-/IBC-Code-compliant luminance should building lighting fail (power outages, natural disaster, building fire with smoke). The exit signs are UL- and ETL-listed for the United States and Canada, and have a life expectancy of 25+ years, according to the company.
American Permalight


PGR remote-only LED emergency sconce
The PGR High Performance LED Remote offers LED performance in an architecturally styled, indoor/outdoor emergency luminaire. This low-profile sconce is illuminated by four high-power 4,000K LEDs arranged so that, in the event of one or two LED failures, the unit will continue to operate. Available in dark bronze, white, platinum, silver, and black powder-coat finishes, the product can be easily wall-mounted with its universal molded in template. Wiring can be accomplished from a junction box through the back or through the conduit entry at top. In addition, the PGR accepts DC voltage, which must be supplied from an external 6VDC to 12VDC power source.
Dual-Lite, a Hubbell Lighting brand


LED emergency lighting unit
Meeting NFPA 101 requirements with 24-ft spacing, the Quantum LED emergency lighting system combines a compact design with LED technology. The low-maintenance LED technology, which is characterized by low power consumption, significantly reduces installation, operation, and maintenance costs, according to the company. High-output capabilities allow use of remote heads (replacing full units) for additional savings.
Lithonia Lighting


LED exit sign
Constructed of plastic, the Messenger LED exit sign features an LED downlight that illuminates upon the loss of AC power. The downlight delivers illumination to doorways and corridors by way of an adjustable reflector with a multi-dimensional refractor, allowing the user to position the light where it’s most needed. The Messenger also reduces lamp replacements with long-life LED lamps and has universal/easy mounting. Additionally, it is suitable for damp label locations and available with either red or green lettering.
Pathway