Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Sept 16, 2019

Emergency LightingBy Kevin Smee, Vice President Sales at AimLite

Most of us take light for granted. It has become so ubiquitous and cheap to use that we don’t really stop to think about emergencies. Thankfully most buildings are required by law since 1974 to be equipped with emergency lighting that automatically activates during power failures to facilitate our exit.

Emergency lighting is only one component of a building’s life safety systems, but perhaps one of the most important. It provides a minimum level of visibility to help direct the building’s occupants safely out of it. Moreover, it also helps personnel and emergency responders locate safety equipment, perform safety functions, or shut down hazardous equipment or operations.

Requirements for emergency lighting differ from facility to facility, but we will attempt to shed some light on the subject so you can better be acquainted with the emergency lighting category.

About emergency lighting

An emergency light is, in its most simple definition, a battery-backed lighting device that switches on automatically when a building experiences a power outage or when a lighting circuit fails.

Emergency lighting is mandated by federal, provincial and/or association codes and criteria. These are borne out of those collective governing bodies’ desire to achieve safety and security on the path of egress, in residential, commercial and industrial areas.

Path of egress refers to a continuous and unobstructed way to exit a building, structure or space. Buildings or portions of buildings thereof must, in accordance with various safety codes, have a sufficient amount of lighting on paths of egress. These must be maintained and well lit in the random event of an emergency. The lighting used in these emergency exit paths must also fit certain codes.

Emergency lighting other than emergency signs must provide an average level of illumination of 10 lx or 1 foot candle and cannot be less than 1 lx or .1 foot candles (luminous flux per unit area) at floor or tread level in places such as exit ways, principal exit routes, corridors serving the public, underground walkways, and more.

How does emergency lighting work?

When power is lost, AC power is therefore lost, so the backup battery unit turns on and transfers power to the lighting system (this is called DC power). When AC power is restored, the emergency lighting batteries must be fully charged within 24 hours.

The National Fire Code of Canada (FCC) requires that emergency lighting be tested for one minute each month and once a year a full discharge for 30 minutes (repeated 24 hours later)

The reason is simple, cyclic operation is required for all batteries; otherwise it will probably not work when the time comes. It’s proven that non cycled batteries have a lifespan of no more than 3 years, whereas regularly cycled batteries have a minimum lifespan of 7 years. Most battery units can comprise an auto-test function to facilitate meeting code requirement. The 30-minute discharge test is intended to simulate an emergency situation in accordance with FCC requirements. The second 30-minute discharge test performed 24 hours later aims to ensure that the product is ready in case of power failure CSA requires all emergency power supplies to be fully charged in less than 24 hours.

About exit signs

An exit sign is a device used in any public facility and denotes the location of the closest emergency exit in case of a fire or other emergency. It has to be powered, show the exit direct, and can be mounted in various ways depending on preferences or location (ceiling mounting, recessed mounting, end mounting, wall mounting or pendant mounting).

There are different types of emergency exit signs, depending on environment and application.

Electrical signs include:

• Running Man
• Exit
• Exit-Sortie
• Sortie

Non-electrical signs include:

• photo-luminescent signs
• tritium (radio luminescent) signs

Currently, new constructions are required by code to install the new green running man signs, consisting of a green and white pictogram and arrow, which display the direction of the exit. Older constructions are required to gradually update the old red exit text signs to the running man ones, to conform to the 2015 National Building Code.

Every exit sign must be visible from a distance of 100 feet and on approach of the exit. It can be internally or externally illuminated, in conformance with their respective codes. Internally illuminated signs are powered by an electrical circuit. Externally illuminated signs are not powered by an electrical circuit, but by regular luminaires and must maintain 5’ candle per legend 24/7.

The breaker serving emergency signs cannot light anything else but the sign it was wired for. It must also be connected to an emergency power supply at all times and remain on even when there is no AC power failure. In short signs must be on a dedicated breaker.

AC/DC

No, we’re not referring to the 80s band! AC/DC refers to the current that powers the emergency light.

The abbreviations are defined as follows:

• AC = alternating current (hydro)

• DC = direct current (batteries)

Alternating current (AC) is an electric current that periodically reverses direction, in contrast to direct current (DC) which flows only in one direction. Alternating current is the form in which electric power is delivered to businesses and residences, and it is the form of electrical energy that consumers typically use when they plug kitchen appliances, televisions, fans and electric lamps into a wall socket.

Direct current (DC) is constantly self-powered, such as with a battery, so that the current (voltage) is always constant, with no dips or spikes.

Normally on/off

• “Normally on” means the unit is on all the time, 24/7. It is active when AC power is present or when DC power kicks in. Exit signs are always “normally on”.

• “Normally off” means the unit is off when AC power is running, but turns on when DC power kicks in. Remote heads are usually “normally off”.

Types of emergency lighting 

Traditional: battery units utilizing sealed lead batteries in various configurations to give 6vdc, 12vdc or 24vdc output to normally off remote heads when AC power is lost to the panel they are connected to. 

Battery packs will operate to a maximum of 120 minutes to the minimum required by code of 30 minutes.

Inverters: there are two types:

• IPS interruptible power supply... in short standby system non instant transfer

• UPS Inverters uninterruptible power supply... in short no break load. Maintains 1 cycle of load 24/7 unnoticeable transfer

Both types work off of batteries IPS (mini inverters up to 1440w), utilize a 12vdc or 24vdc battery source, and convert to 120vac for a minimum of 30 minutes with one single circuit allowing regular luminaires to be lit 100% normally on and during a power failure.

UPS Inverters work utilizing 10 12vdc batteries in series to handle normally on loads up to 55kw in single phase or 3 phase applications (loads may vary pending on which phase using).

Inverters are a continuous AC supply and are a single point of service for large commercial, industrial and institutional projects.

To learn more about our inverters, check our Inverters Brochure.

Generators: no batteries required but a backup of diesel or propane tanks are needed to fuel this standby system, which will back up critical lighting and signage in case of a power outage.

The transfer time varies on these 120v or 347v systems but normally is 10-16 seconds pending on loads and age of systems.

These systems are generally used in large condos and industrial jobs.

In conclusion

As we’ve seen, there are many things that make the emergency lighting category particular. We looked at emergency light principles and codes, how it functions, the exit signs subcategory (including electrical and non-electrical signs), and what AC/DC and normally on/off mean. We hope we were able to enlighten you on the subject and that it will help you on your next emergency lighting project.

Kevin Smee, Vice President Sales, AimLite Canada

 


Salex Announces Promotion of Paul Manson to GTA Sales Manager     

Paul MansonJanuary 26, 2021 – Salex, a facilitator of commercial lighting installations and control systems for Canada’s architectural lighting community, is excited to announce the promotion of Paul Manson to GTA Sales Manager. Paul joined Salex back in 2015, and has over 25 years of invaluable industry experience.

Dedicated to the education and promotion of quality, high-efficiency lighting and controls, Manson’s extensive background in on-site electrical installation, national accounts, relationship building, manufacturers, and sales team management at Philips Lighting, will provide valuable experience to fulfill his new role.

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www.liteline.com

 

 

 

 


 

Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 

electrical apprentice1 400The Canadian government is making targeted investments, so that key groups facing barriers—like women, newcomers, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and Black and racialized Canadians—can better find work in the skilled trades through projects led by unions and their partner organizations.

The investment will be $63.5 million, over five years, for 68 projects as part of the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) 2020 call for proposals. The aim is to help certify skilled tradespeople and prepare them to fill available jobs as the economy restarts. Minister Qualtrough made the announcement during a virtual event hosted by one of the funding recipients, the UA Piping Industry College of British Columbia, in Delta, B.C.

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LightingBy Steve Mesh

Are you an electrical contractor? Are you new to the world of Networked Lighting Controls (NLCs)? Are you looking for new opportunities to strengthen your business in these uncertain times?

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, read on. NLCs are a (relatively) new introduction to the lighting industry. I say “relatively” because, in point of fact, some networked control systems have been available for decades. If you haven’t had any prior experience with installing NLCs, then you might think these are fancy and highfalutin. 

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CEW EWEL Sherwood 400EWEL has announced the plan to move its Sherwood Park branch into a brand-new facility at #130 3001 Buckingham Drive, Sherwood Park, Alberta. Relocation has proceeded in staged phases since late summer 2020 and will conclude by late February 2021.

The new unit space is approximately 9,500 square feet with a 4,500 square foot yard, which makes it nearly three times larger than the previous location. The expansion stems from EWEL’s steady growth over the last four decades, necessitating space for increased inventory, more comfortable spaces for employees, and for more streamlined warehousing processes.

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The ALL-ACCESS SLOTS solve the frustration of plug removal, making you more productive with less downtime between holes.

 

 

 

 

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SATCO CCT Selectable Wall PacksSATCO continues to expand its wall pack selection with options that make installation flexible and stock versatile. The latest additions in the line include the CCT Selectable Small Wall Pack and the CCT Selectable Compact Round Wall Pack.

 
The Small Wall Pack is perfect for light commercial uses such a smaller storage units and municipal lighting, as well as commercial Main Street buildings. As with all of the fixtures in this exterior family, these wall packs offer advanced features, are built durable and are able to withstand harsh, all-weather conditions.

 

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Designed to provide a simple and effective energy monitoring solution, the 0.5% Mini Meter Kits accurately capture measurements of power consumption and meet the rigorous requirements of ANSI C12.20 (0.5) Code for Electricity Metering. The 0.5% Mini Meters offer an all-in-one, low cost bundled solution for tenant billing applications, new construction and retrofits.

 

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Libra Smart MeterBy Blake Marchand

Trilliant, an international provider of utility solutions for advanced metering and smart grid systems, recently announced a custom-made product for the North American market with the release of its Trilliant Libra Series Edge-Ready Smart Electric Meter.


The meter’s technology will allow utilities to enter the connectivity sphere by providing peer-to-peer data acquisition and analytics, while enabling new energy management features that benefit both customer and utility. 

 

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