National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has published EM 1-2010, "Exit Sign Visibility Testing Requirements for Safety and Energy Efficiency." The standard, last published in 2007, was produced by NEMA’s Emergency Lighting Section.

EM 1 establishes a high performance category for internally illuminated exit signs that goes beyond former Energy Star requirements and existing CSA and UL standards for those products. This standard forms the basis of the emerging NEMA Premium Exit Sign program. The program, like the standard, will be based on performance, rather than simply energy efficiency.

“Exit signs are one of many lighting installations facility managers can look to in the quest to reduce energy costs, so long as changes do not come at the expense of life safety,” says Eric Bailey of Philips Lighting, chair of the Emergency Lighting Section. “EM 1-2010 provides the visibility and energy-efficiency requirements that signs must meet to qualify as NEMA Premium products. By focusing on visual performance, this program goes beyond energy efficiency and will recognize the highest performing exit sign products on the market.”

The contents and scope of EM 1 may be viewed, or a hardcopy or electronic copy purchased for $69, by visiting the NEMA website, or by contacting IHS at (800) 854-7179.