By Ryan Maroney, PE

There is often much confusion regarding emergency egress lighting requirements for buildings. What is emergency egress lighting? Where is it required? How can we address these code requirements with aesthetic, cost-effective, and low-maintenance solutions? To help answer these questions, let’s start with some definitions and then dig in further.

Egress lighting illuminates the travel path from any occupied structure space out to a public way. Emergency egress lighting is similar, except that it must remain on during a loss of normal utility power. Various codes outline both requirements, but the latter often requires the most thought and planning, so let’s focus on that part for now.

What Does the Code Say?

The two most widely enforced codes in our region on emergency egress lighting requirements are the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) and the International Building Code (IBC). Further reading can be found specifically in NFPA 101 Section 7.9, and IBC Section 1008.3, but in summary, these codes require the following: