Emergency lighting in the marketplace
All certified emergency lighting equipment is evaluated for its risks of fire and electric shock injury, but key to emergency lighting evaluations is the need to verify that it will work as intended when the need arises. While failing in a “safe” manner can be an acceptable outcome for many types of luminaires, that outcome is not acceptable for an emergency luminaire or its supporting power and control system.
UL 924, the Standard for Emergency Lighting and Power Equipment, adds several layers to the investigation process that applies to non-emergency equipment, such as UL 1598, the Standard for Luminaires or UL 1778, the Standard for Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) equipment. These extra investigatory steps are what qualifies equipment certified to UL 924 to be installed for meeting the needs of the Life Safety Code NFPA 101, the Fire Code NFPA 1, the National Electrical Code® NFPA 70®, Article 700 Emergency Systems, and the International Fire and Building Codes.
Emergency lighting includes several types of equipment:
- Luminaires with integral batteries that provide illumination when the normal power supply is disrupted
- Exit signs and pathway markings that provide directional guidance for leaving a building
- Emergency power sources such as battery banks and uninterruptible power supplies
- Controls, sensors and related auxiliary devices to manage and maintain system functionality
Each product line has undergone significant and disruptive technological change over the past two decades, with more to come. LEDs are now the dominant lighting technology but photoluminescent products are widespread within the exit sign and path marking subsector; lithium battery technology is gradually taking over from the original lead acid and transitional nickel-based chemistries; and control systems are now mostly digitized and include various communication approaches, from 0-10V and DALI to PoE (power over ethernet), with wireless controls just starting to make an appearance.
Emerging technology and disruption is expected to continue, as connected lighting products mature into building-wide smart systems that integrate with other infrastructure for more energy efficient, targeted and remotely monitorable management. As such systems will rely on downloadable software updates to maximize system performance, cybersecurity considerations will remain a significant priority.
Another emerging technology that will require future certification consideration is dynamic directional guidance that uses sensors and algorithms to monitor real-time building conditions to route or reroute occupants for optimal egress efficiency. Advances in these guidance systems will need to be addressed in the building and fire codes that establish expectations for product performance.
We can help you navigate the regulatory and certification complexities associated with these systems as well as the ever-changing marketplace.
Emergency lighting services
We offer the full range of certification services associated with both UL 924 and UL 1994, the Standard for Luminous Path Marking Materials. Subject matter experts at our facilities in both North America and Asia communicate frequently with one another to ensure the rapid changes in technology and the means to properly evaluate them for life-safety purposes remains consistent across the globe. The UL 924 approach to evaluating emergency lighting equipment has also gained considerable advocacy in the Middle East, Asia and the Indian subcontinent due to its rigor, specificity, practicality and efforts to keep up with the changing technology.
A recent and significant revision to UL 924 involves the evaluation of controls that may be integral to or intended to work with emergency lighting equipment. The testing protocol was significantly expanded and renamed as the Emergency Lighting Control Functionality (ELCF) test. This test now provides guidance for evaluating a wider range of functionalities associated with emergency lighting control and creates the opportunity to individually certify an Emergency Lighting Control Device (ELCD) that can be separately field installed to support other previously installed emergency lighting equipment.
Most of the product types within the scope of UL 924 are certified within a single product category control number (CCN), but there are a few specialty categories. More information about each certification category is available by searching under the designated CCN in our Product iQ™ database:
FTBR – Exit Signs, Emergency Luminaires, Emergency Battery Packs, Unit Equipment, ELCDs, Central Battery Systems (UPS)
FTBV – LED Emergency Battery Packs (eligible for certification under either FTBR or FTBV)
FWBO – Exit Fixtures (no integral batteries)
FWBX – Photoluminescent Exit Signs
FWCF – Exit Sign Conversion Kits
FWCN – Exit Fixture to Exit Light Conversion Kits
GGET – Exit Sign Retrofit Kits
IMZI – (UL 1994) Luminous Egress Path Marking Systems
Our emergency lighting certification services also address the needs of equipment to be installed in Canada with well-maintained training and documentation to close the limited technical gaps between UL 924 and the applicable Canadian standard, CSA C22.2 No. 141. The Canadian Standard for photoluminescent exit signs and path markers, CAN/ULC-S572, is administered by our Canada affiliate, is fully aligned with UL 924 and UL 1994, and provides for a seamless U.S. and Canadian certification.
Contact us to get the conversation started about your project today.