Photoluminescent, or glow-in-the-dark, products improve safety through such options as exit signs, low-location egress pathway marking systems, and general safety signage in buildings, tunnels, in vehicles (trains, buses, ships, airplanes), on oil rigs, and in other structures.  PL safety markings may be easily installed in seconds with just a few screws or some adhesive tape.

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Uses of PL Products

Photoluminescence increases personal safety on hard hats, vests, protective garments for work crews, personnel and even outdoor athletes.

The photoluminescent technology uses no power, does not use radioactive materials, and lasts for years.

Who Requires Exit Path Markings?

The ICC (IBC/IFC) and many jurisdictions now require exit path markings. For a list of such codes, Here is a list of jurisdictions that require exit path marking.

Additionally, the markings are required in many other fields, including on passenger trains, ships, certain aircraft, in military applications and more.

Photoluminescent Success Stories

PL Speakers Bureau

If your organization needs a speaker at your next company meeting, regional seminar or annual conference to discuss photoluminescent products, call the PSA. Our members can discuss a variety of topics involving photoluminescence, including the value of PL products and their applications on land, sea, and air, as well as building and other codes that reference PL products. Send us an email with a description of the topic you’d like addressed, the length of the presentation, details about the event, and your contact information by clicking here.

How PL Products Work

As photoluminescent material absorbs light rays it stores energy. Upon removal of the light source, the stored light is gradually released, producing a highly visible surface illumination that fades over a period of time. Photoluminescent material glows in the dark if power is lost or smoke obscures overhead lighting. Unlike electrically powered systems, which rely on back up batteries or emergency generators, photoluminescent egress marking systems are fail safe. They will glow by themselves, with UL-listed products remaining visible for a minimum of 90 minutes and will continue to be visible for up to 30 hours.

PL products are often used as in egress marking systems to provide building occupants with a continuous pathway delineation for egress under all emergency conditions. Following the problems encountered in high-rise buildings in New York during the 9/11 tragedy, the city passed Local Law 26 of 2004 that requires a range of retroactive and prospective provisions, including photoluminescent exit path markings in high-rise office buildings. Other jurisdictions are considering similar legislation. Photoluminescent egress path markings inside staircases are now required by the 2009 IBC-International Building Code and 2009 IFC-International Fire Code and detailed in the 2009 NFPA 101-Life Safety Code and 2009 NFPA 5000-Building Construction and Safety Code.

PL products are on the General Services Administration schedule and are used in many government and military facilities, including the Pentagon in its post-9/11 rebuilding project.

Department of Energy Says PL is the MOST Energy Efficient Option

According to the US Department of Energy, photoluminescent (PL) exit signs are the MOST energy efficient exit signs available: In locations with proper charging sources, PL exit signs can have an unlimited service life.

PL Products Can Secure Points with LEED Credits

Photoluminescent (PL) Exit Signs are a highly sustainable product that can directly contribute toward securing points in the following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Credits:

  • EA Credit #1  Energy and Atmosphere: Optimizing Energy Performance
  • MR Credit #4  Materials and Resources: Recycled Content
  • ID Credit #1.1  Innovation in Design: Exceptional Performance

Operating Costs

  • 500 LED exit signs 5 watts of power each 22,000 kwh of electricity annually $3000 @ $.14/kwh
  • 500 PL exit signs 0 watts of power each 0 kwh of electricity annually $0 @ $.14/kwh

Compare the Three Most Popular and Best-Selling Exit Signs

Key Factor LED Radioluminescent Photoluminescent
Energy Efficiency Good Better Best
Power Consumption 5 watts 0 0
Service Life 10 years 10-20 years Unlimited
Maintenance Electrical Expiration Date Dust
Disposal Hazard Yes Yes No
Periodic Testing Yes No No
Toxic Yes Yes No
Radioactive No Yes No

Who Should Join the PSA?

If you:

  • Manufacture, sell, or market safety-grade photoluminescent products;
  • Write, implement or participate in the writing of building, personal, vehicular and other safety codes and standards;
  • Are responsible for getting people out of buildings, tunnels, trains, buses, airplanes, ships, oil rigs, and other structures safely in an emergency; or,
  • Are a first-responder or a fire safety official,

Then you belong in this association.


PSA Members

Looking to buy PL products?

Directory of PSA Members