Illuminated Exit Lights are an important and legally required safety feature in your facility. In the case of an emergency such as a fire, their operation is critical in protecting the well being of your congregation’s members. By design, Exit Lights operate 24 hours per day, and can consume large amounts of energy to operate. Many Exit Lights in today’s buildings use older, incandescent and fluorescent/compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) technology. To make matters worse, many older Exit Lights require frequent maintenance due to the short life span of the lamps that light them. For example, many older Exit Lights consume over 350 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and cost $28 each annually to operate.

The high-energy usage and maintenance of many Exit Lights is completely unnecessary due to advances in lighting technology. Solid-state light-emitting diodes (LED) are those small colored lights that have been used extensively in consumer electronics for decades. However recent advances in the technology have allowed Exit Light manufacturers to develop signs that harness the advantages of this technology at competitive costs. In addition, Exit Lights are easy to install, if you can install a light switch or electrical receptacle you can install an Exit Light.

LED Exit Light Advantages
• Ultra-Low Energy Usage: ENERGY STAR® labeled LED Exit Lights use approximately 44 kWh of electricity annually to operate. Low energy use not only means less pollution but also lower electricity bills as a LED Exit Light usually costs less than $4 annually to operate.

• Low Maintenance: To be ENERGY STAR labeled, a LED Exit Light must be guaranteed to last at least 5 years, however, many manufacturers state that their lamps will maintain National Fire Protection Association compliant levels of luminance for 10 to 25 years.
Exit Light Energy Use by the Numbers Exit Light Lighting Technology Annual Energy Use Annual Energy Cost Lamp Service Life Annual Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Pollution LED 44 kWh $4 10+ Years 72 pounds Fluorescent/CFL 140 kWh $11 10.8 months 230 pounds Incandescent 350 kWh $28 2.8 months 574 pounds
• Safety: LED Exit Lights are usually brighter than comparable incandescent or fluorescent signs, and have greater contrast with their background due to the monochromatic nature of the light that LEDs emit.

• Color: Exit Lights come in two colors, green or red. Choosing what color is right for your facility is dependent on several factors, including aesthetics and local regulations. Check with your local building codes office or fire officials before purchasing any Exit Light.

• Battery Back-up: To ensure a powered Exit Light remains lit during an emergency if the building’s electrical system is interrupted, many Exit Lights come with a battery back-up or offer this feature as an option. Some localities may require that a battery back-up be installed with any Exit Light so consult your local building codes office or fire officials before purchasing.

• Emergency Lighting: Some Exit Lights have integrated emergency lighting; if your current Exit Light has integrated emergency lighting you can replace it with a combined LED Exit Light/emergency lighting unit or install emergency lighting separately from your Exit Light.

• Voltage: LED Exit Lights are available that are compatible with either 120 volt or 277 volt power. Many models are variable voltage and will operate properly on both voltage levels.

If you are buying Exit Lights for a building you will be constructing your choice is clear, LED Exit Lights should be installed. Ask your architect or designer to use only LED Exit Lights in your building. What about the Exit Lights in an existing building you already occupy? LED Exit Lights are an ideal replacement but you need to determine what kind of Exit Light your facility already has. The following descriptions should help you identify your facility’s Exit Lights:
• LED Exit Lights: These Exit Lights have a string of very small, typically red or green, glowing LEDs arranged in a circle or oval. The LEDs may also be arranged in a line on the side, top or bottom of the Exit Light. LED Exit Lights provide the best balance of safety, low maintenance, and very low energy usage compared to other Exit Light technologies. ENERGY STAR labeled LED Exit Lights will use less than 5 watts of power and last over 10 years.

• Incandescent Exit Lights: These Exit Lights contain one or two incandescent lamps, typically a clear glass bulb with a filament inside, with either a screw-in, bayonet, or push and twist style base. These are the most energy intensive Exit Lights and consume up to 40 watts of electricity. Signs illuminated with incandescent lamps typically require lamp replacement every 500 to 2,000 hours.

• Fluorescent/CFL Exit Lights: These Exit Lights typically contain one or two narrow U-shaped tubular lamps that appear frosted. They have a variety of bases but are typically screw-in (self ballasted) or plug in (remote ballasted). These Exit Lights are more efficient than incandescent Exit Lights, but still use up to 16 watts of electricity and have lamp life spans of 5,000 to 6,000 hours.

• Photoluminescent Exit Lights: These Exit Lights use no power and are typically pale green in color. If installed in an inappropriate location they can present problems to facility operators. Photoluminescent signs, though acceptable for a variety of installations, need to be exposed to light each day to charge. If placed in an area that does not receive adequate quantities of light, or is vacant for multiple days, these signs may not produce enough light to be discernable in an emergency.

• Tritium Exit Lights: These Exit Lights use a mildly radioactive form of hydrogen and require no electricity, but the amount of light they emit will dissipate over time. They are typically pale green in appearance. Disposal of these Exit Lights may be subject to local environmental ordinances. If you have one of these signs in your building please consult your state environmental office for advice.

If you need help identifying the Exit Lights in your current building or have questions on LED Exit Lights and their features please call 1-888-953-EXIT (1-888-953-3948) or email You can also visit EXIT SIGN WAREHOUSE Labeled Products page for LED Exit Lights at //

All calculations have been completed assuming 24 hour, 365 days per year operation at an average electricity cost of $0.08 per kWh. Exit Light electricity consumption is assumed to be 40 watts for incandescent signs, 16 watts for fluorescent signs, and 5 watts for LED signs. Actual sign wattages may vary. Pounds of pollution are based on the national average emissions factor for electricity generation in the United States, 1.64 pounds CO2 per kWh. For assistance determining the electricity consumption of your facilities Exit Lights please call 1-888-953-3948 or email

The contents of this informational sheet are to the best knowledge of contract staff supporting EPA. It is the responsibility of the user to perform their own due diligence before implementing any of the above recommendations. Care should be taken when installing any electrical device, as improper installation can result in property damage and personal harm. If you have any questions about you or your staff’s capability to install any electrical device please consult a qualified electrician or the product manufacturer/distributor. All references to products, process, and services above by name, trademark, or manufacturer are for informational purposes only and do not represent an endorsement of any particular product or entity by EPA.

EXIT SIGN WAREHOUSE is proud to offer our customers products with the ENERGY STAR label.

ENERGY STAR qualified products and practices help you save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. EPA and U.S. DOE. The ENERGY STAR label also designates superior energy performance in homes and buildings.

Additional information is available at the ENERGY STAR Web site:

All information above has been provided courtesy of Energy Star.

Energy Star



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