At one time, all building owners had to invest in some type of generator to ensure the building’s exit signs could continue functioning in the event of a blackout. Obviously, a good deal of energy and materials went into the construction of that generator, but was seldom used. Introduction of the battery operated exit sign helped to solve the problem of waste associated with these bulky generators.
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The battery operated exit sign does not need a generator to remain functional in the event of a blackout. It utilizes the chemical energy found in its battery. Still, it is important to understand the limitations of that source of chemical energy. The production and use of these batteries has an effect on the environment.
It is important to closely examine the basic features of the typical exit sign. It is quite narrow and easily fits over the top section of a doorway. Because it is so narrow, it cannot contain a large energy source. Therefore, manufacturers have ruled out the idea of putting batteries in any of their exit signs in order to create a product that does not consume electrical power.
Even though it has become possible to put tiny batteries in a small calculator or similar device, manufacturers continue to refrain from making exit signs that rely entirely on the chemical energy of a battery. That restraint does not represent an effort to demonstrate the manufacturer’s concerns about sustainability of the Earth’s resources. Instead it shows an understanding of this fact: while the utilization of such a battery-powered device would allow a building owner to have a lower utility bill, it would also increase the amount of money that must be allocated to replacement batteries.
Each sign’s batteries could be recharged once any of them had lost its ability to deliver the desired power. As a result, it would need to be replaced on a regular basis. Therefore, the building owner would have to pay someone for the time spent replacing each of them. The presence in any structure solely using battery operated exit signs instead of an AC connection does not exist. It is only possible to use the battery pack as a backup source of power. That pairing of signs and batteries serves as an assurance that no sign’s glow will disappear following a blackout.
Due to the huge demand for battery operated exit signs, manufacturers now make three different types of such glowing fixtures. One features a thermoplastic material, the second surrounds the glowing letters with a cast aluminum surface, and the third demonstrates the nature of the lighted letters in an edge lit application. Not one of these three categories includes a fixture that consumes electrical power while helping people find their way out of a particular location.
In the event of an emergency such as a fire, it is important to facilitate the passage of the building's occupants to ensure safety. That way, firefighters can concentrate on saving the structure. Hopefully, their actions should ensure the fire is extinguished quickly and the building is preserved as much as possible. This should minimize the extent to which a building’s materials have been consumed and need to be replaced. This line of thought supports the claim that the battery operated exit sign is great for the environment.