The installation of emergency lighting and escape lighting is essential, but the task is often not seen as being a part of a building's lighting design. Lighting professionals will often pass the design of the emergency lighting layout on to a luminaire manufacturer.
Possibly the most visible aspect of emergency lighting is the green escape sign, so Lux has taken a look at some popular models.
The CrystalWay is a brand new product and one of the most noticeable aspects is the slim enclosure which contains the electronics, battery and mains cable entry. It is smaller than many of its competitors. The self-contained models have a cadmium-free Li-Ion battery which has a claimed 10 year design life. These self-contained luminaires in maintained mode also offer configurable luminance values from 50 cd/m2 to 500 cd/m2.
The other feature of these luminaires is that the pictogram fits flush within the larger clear plastic panel thus giving an almost invisible 15mm wide border.
This, again is almost frameless. Light is transmitted from the top via a dozen LEDs through a diamond prism clear panel. The pictogram then clips in place leaving a wafer thin, clear plastic surround.
The other feature of this unit is that it can operate at various levels of luminance. There is a daylight version specifically for the German market where the white areas of the luminaire emit a minimum of 500 cd/m2 when on a mains supply.
At the lowest luminance setting, it just requires 2 x AA batteries for a three hour autonomy.
All products from P4 are self-testing. The name FASTEL is mentioned in much of their literature and it stands for Fully Automatic Self-Testing Emergency Lighting.
The Pi is an attractive unit with an oval extruded aluminium body with black louvred end caps. The charge indicator light is subtly placed in the black strip along the body. The 12mm opal legend panel is a whisker thicker than some others but the green background extends right to the edge. There is a slim green frame around the panel.
This sign has won a German Design Council award. Rather than using LEDs to transmit the light through a clear plastic sheet, the RP Technik luminaire uses OLED as the light source. This makes it extremely thin. The pictogram and OLED is only 4mm thick and, including its mounting frame, is less than 10mm thick overall. The electronics and power adaptor are mounted remotely, so all you see is the slim green panel.
The other advantage is that the pictogram image is totally uniform due to the OLEDs.
One disadvantage is that, currently, it is only available for use with central battery systems.
The big difference about this sign is that it doesn’t have any batteries. Instead, it uses very high power capacitors. The advantage is that they do not contain any hazardous heavy metals such as lead, nickel or cadmium. They are also claimed to have half the recharge time and twice the life of a traditional battery. They can also operate at -25C.
Currently, these capacitors will provide a one hour backup. A possible disadvantage for the UK market is that most specifications usually ask for a three hr backup.
Close-up you can see the linear internal prisms behind the pictogram, but from any distance, they disappear.
Here are some basic aspects of escape signs that you need to be aware of:
The basics of emergency lighting are described in our excellent two-minute explainer.
- If you want to learn more about emergency lighting, there will be a series of lectures at Lux Live purely devoted to the topic. You will find them in the aptly named Escape Zone.
- Testing of emergency lighting equipment is vital, but it is also a time-consuming and costly exercise. You can find out more about the cutting edge of emergency testing by listening to our upcoming webinar on the subject on 14th of September. You can discover more and register to listen by clicking here.