Electrical Business


NEMA’s new Premium Exit Sign Program establishes standards for and encourages the use of high-performance exit signage

April 12, 2011 | By Alyssa Dalton

April 12, 2011

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Emergency Lighting Section has launched its Premium Exit Sign Program, which establishes standards for and encourages the use of high-performance exit signage.

Unlike other NEMA Premium programs, NEMA said this effort does not focus strictly on energy efficiency, but rather aims to increase visibility and attract attention. The program is managed by NEMA and is driven largely by the requirements set forth in NEMA EM 1 Exit Sign Visibility Testing Requirements for Safety and Energy Efficiency, a standard maintained by the Emergency Lighting Section.

Prior to the creation of this program, the only discerning mark used on exit signs was that of the Energy Star program, said NEMA. That exit sign program, which was based solely on energy efficiency, was terminated a few years ago after federal mandatory minimum efficiency requirements were established.


“Even though new signs were better performers, many people tried to buy products that were labeled as Energy Star compliant, erroneously thinking they were better because of the brand recognition,” it explained. “Essentially anything labeled as such was old stock.”

According to Eric Bailey, chair of the Emergency Lighting Section, the NEMA Premium exit sign program has established a minimum level of visibility almost twice that of the UL 924 Emergency Lighting and Power Equipment.

“There are strict limits for evenly illuminated sign faces. Testing is accomplished using analytical, repeatable equipment to ensure the signs meet these requirements,” he said. “By purchasing NEMA Premium exit signs you are guaranteed the most visible signs available.”

Any exit sign manufacturer may apply to this program, regardless of NEMA membership.

CLICK HERE for more information on the NEMA Premium Exit Sign program and related programs.

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