For electrical engineers responsible for designing a building’s emergency lighting system, the process of selecting and integrating the various component parts from lights to exit signs and inverters is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Much of the pain can be taken out of the process by simplifying the interaction and providing a single source.
Design-Conscious Emergency Lights – When emergency lighting is necessary, one of the most aesthetic options is actually to conceal it until it is required. Some ingenious units are even designed to blend in with the existing decor by being painted or covered with wallpaper.
For example, one manufacturer of specification-grade emergency lighting products, Isolite, offers the Genie, along with a more compact version called the Mini Genie, that remain fully recessed behind two flat panel doors until required.
“If power is lost, the battery-powered units automatically open to light the way,” explains
says Bill Lynch, President of Isolite.
Exit Signs – Although exit signs must be functional, they do not need to be ugly. A variety of aesthetic options exist including slim profiles, specialty finishes, and recessed power supplies that help units blend in with interior decor and architectural features.
Because exit signs operate 24/7, however, they should also be energy efficient. As such, some energy efficient LED edge-lit exit signs use less than 3 watts and offer a 3-hour emergency run time with a battery diagnostic monitoring system.
Today, new “dual technology” exit signs are even combining the efficiency of LED lighting with revolutionary new photoluminescent materials to increase reliability and performance over decades of use.
This hybrid approach combines two established exit sign technologies in a single unit – LED and photoluminescence. During normal power conditions, the sign is illuminated with highly efficient LEDs. When the power goes out, a translucent exit stencil diffusor made of photoluminescent material provides the illumination. This is charged by the LEDs while electric power is provided to the sign.
Inverters – When a building-wide power outage occurs, electrical engineers have several options when it comes to powering emergency lighting systems mandated by the NFPA and International Building Code (IBC).
The first is to install dedicated lighting fixtures that provide temporary power from built-in battery packs. The other is to utilize centrally located inverters tied to back-up batteries that can provide utility-grade power to both existing architectural and dedicated emergency lighting in the event of a power outage.
However, there are multiple factors that should also be considered in making a final inverter selection that best suits the application. These include selecting inverters that provide pure sine wave AC power, operate at their designated rating, and provide automated testing/reporting.
“When electrical engineers face tight deadlines to design emergency lighting systems so a building or facility can be opened for use, partnering with a vendor that offers comprehensive options can streamline the process,” concludes Lynch. “In this regard, some domestic manufacturers can provide a fully integrated system with as little as two weeks of lead time.”
For more information, visit: www.isolite.com.