What is LEC?

Light Emitting Capacitor (LEC) or sometimes referred as electroluminescence (EL) uses a continuous layer of millions of encapsulated zinc sulfide photon emitting crystals. The crystals are excited by an alternating electric current (AC), yielding uniform luminescence. No heat or ultraviolet radiation is produced, thus the light is extremely energy efficient. LEC technology has been used in the military and other commercial applications for more than 30 years. Air force case study: http://www.e-lite.com/publications

What is the AEDG and why is that an important endorsement?

ASHRAE’s (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers – International organization) Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG) is the standard for several industries for design and building. The AEDG has selected LEC exit signs as the new standard for healthcare, retail and commercial.

Per section EL22 Electroluminescent Signage (LEC), lines 5539 – 5545:

“Incandescent EXIT signage draws an average of 40 watts per sign. LED EXIT signs draw an average of 4 watts per sign. Electroluminescent EXIT signs draw less than 0.2 watts and can last for 20 years with no maintenance. For a large hospital, it is not unusual to have over a thousand EXIT signs meaning a savings of 70,080 kilowatt-hours per year over incandescent and 7,008 kilowatt-hours per year over LED signs. At roughly the same initial cost as an LED sign, LEC has an instant economic payback. Because it has no lamp strings and no waste heat, LEC signs can easily achieve extremely long lives.”

Power Factor

How is the energy measured?

EcoSmart’s exit sign lamp measures 1/4 watt. The entire non-battery, single-sided exit sign uses only 3/8 watt.

Generally, most power companies measure and bill energy consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh). In some cases, adjustments can be made where power factors (voltage and current being out of phase) have a material influence in the consumption of power. In most cases, these power factors are the result of large inductive (current trailing voltage) loads such as those created by industrial motors. If these loads are large enough to create an overall power factor influence, the power company may charge the customer for this condition. Some customers manage this condition by purchasing specially designed units that compensate for the inductive load (by adding capacitance), thus improving the overall power factor.

EcoSmart exit signs have a capacitive (leading) power factor which theoretically helps compensate an inductive (lagging) power factor in a facility. However, the power consumption of our signs is so small that the benefit would be of an immeasurable amount for most customers.

The power usage of EcoSmart’s exit signs in one building is typically far less than 0.1% of the building’s total power usage, thus the power factor influence of our signs is negligible. One 10 amp vacuum cleaner uses more power than 1000 of our single sided non-battery exit signs.


Has the EcoSmart LEC technology been independently tested for energy usage?

EcoSmart’s exit signs power was confirmed by three sources:

  1. The manufacturer of the lamp
  2. Intertek, an independent testing lab that complies with IFIA, IES, NEMA and ANSI codes and standards
  3. Electrical engineers on EcoSmart’s staff

Data has been collected using a power meter that takes a characteristic known as phase-angle into account. The phase-angle has significant influence on the actual power (in watts) consumed. Statistics from the lamp manufacturer and Intertek are as follows:

Lamp manufacturer lead engineer

“The wattage of two samples range from 0.183 to 0.191 watts.” (This is for a single-sided, non-battery backup sign)

Specific results are as follows:



Single-sided, battery backup sign:

  • 120V, measures 0.375 W, 8.19mA, PF = 0.381
  • 277V, measures 0.610 W, 7.97mA, PF = 0.275

How can EcoSmart exit signs help earn LEED points?

There are three categories where EcoSmart LEC technology can help you earn credits.

  • EA Credit #1 – Energy and Atmosphere: Optimizing Energy Performance
    Points are awarded to building projects using less energy than “baseline” guidelines prescribed by ASHRAE or the Advanced Buildings Benchmark.  With respect to exit signs, these guidelines are formulated on the basis of installing modern LED exit signs which pull about 5 watts of power. While not significant for just a few exit signs, if a building installs several hundred signs, LEC signs positively contribute to the calculations that determine the energy efficiency of a building. This savings can be significant in obtaining points toward EZ Credit #1
  • ID Credit #1.1 – Innovation in Design: Exceptional Performance

Innovation in Design: EcoSmart contributes to both of the criteria listed below

  • Project team demonstrates a comprehensive approach toward employing a product or technology that has significant environmental benefits not addressed or credited in other LEED categories
  • Comprehensive approach targets optimizing the benefits and tradeoffs of an innovation proposal throughout its lifecycle phases

Exceptional performance:  EcoSmart is energy efficient, uses recyclable materials and requires little, if no, maintenance.

  • Energy Efficient – Reducing Emissions of Global Warming Ingredients. EcoSmart LEC technology uses a fraction of the electricity used by LED lighting.-
  • High Percentage of Recyclable Materials. Since EcoSmart’s exit signs are recyclable after the life of the product. In addition, LEC technology typically has a much longer lifespan than LED.
  • Less Maintenance. If using EcoSmart’s automatic battery-testing series, the monthly testing required by NFPA is conducted automatically – without having a man on the ladder. In addition, since there are no bulbs and the lamps are long-lasting, very little maintenance, if any, is needed.

How do I find out if we are entitled to energy rebates?

Most power companies offer rebates for exit signs on either a prescriptive or custom basis depending on the type of unit that is being replaced. The rebates are either paid as a one-time cash incentive or discounts against future energy bills. Some states pay as much as $45 / sign.  We are more than happy to assist you in determining the rebate offered from your power company or you may simply refer to dsireusa.org.


How do you measure your carbon footprint?

Since carbon footprint is directly related to the amount of energy consumed, our signs are the most “carbon friendly.” We use the calculation from EPA to determine the carbon footprint in pounds consumed by exit signs. The EPA calculates that 1.54 pounds of CO2 is emitted per kWh.

Energy & Carbon Footprint Chart


Is the luminosity level for EcoSmart’s LEC signs compliant?

Luminosity levels measure a minimum of 8.79 candelas per meter squared in an emergency and 16.8 candelas per meter squared in a non-emergency. These levels exceed UL924 requirements of 5.14 and 8.57 candelas per meter squared respectively.

The green light is also more visible through smoke at a distance: preferred by firefighters as they do not confuse the sign as a source of heat. ISO has also adopted the color green as the new standard.

Sign Features

How does the battery backup self-testing feature work?

Our battery backup sign has a proprietary self-testing feature to monitor the battery. This allows for the signs to be NFPA 101 compliant without the need for manual testing. The software of the self-test feature cuts power from the AC and allows the sign to run off battery for the required 30 second monthly and 90 minutes annual test. Instead of manually pressing the button, the self-test software does this on a timer and allows substantial reduction in operational costs. We believe this technology sets us apart and makes our sign a very smart sign.

What are the failure rates of the EcoSmart signs requiring repair or replacement?

Based on historical information of the signs in the market, we have a failure rate of 1 sign per 1000.

Cost Savings

How do you measure your savings?

We have an interactive financial model that allows you to input variables specific to your exit sign scenario. The model projects not only cost savings but also ROI, based on the assumptions you make.

What are the estimated man hours to remove existing signs and install new signs?

Our “retrofitting” process involves 2 steps:

1)     Removal of the existing sign

2)     Installation of our sign

Each unit ships with a universal bracket for mounting to a 4” X 4” junction box. Our exit sign comes pre-configured and uses only two wire nuts and two screws. All hardware needed to mount the sign is included. We project a maximum of 20 minutes per sign.

What are the estimated annual dollars saved in energy?

We used Energy Star as the basis for kWh.

Based on energy cost of $.10 per kWh, the annual cost to run a single-sided, non-battery backup exit sign is as follows:

What are the estimated costs of each sign to be replaced?

(cost of  replacement sign, power, disposal of replaced signage, installation repairs, installation cleanup).

Disposal costs will vary dependent on arrangements each client has with the city and recyclers. The only component to recycle with the delivery of our sign is the shipping box.

What wage and frequency was used to estimate your costs of existing systems.

Labor rate: $35 per hour.

Bulb replacement based on Energy Star’s projections and end-users:

LEC: none (no bulbs)

LED: every 10 years

Fluorescent: 1.1 times per year

Incandescent: 4.3 times per year

Battery replacement based on standard warranties, distributors and end users:

LED, Fluorescent and Incandescent: every three years

LEC: every 5 years.

EcoSmart’s NiMH rechargeable battery, developed by a large German company (VARTA Microbattery GmbH) was designed to maximize the life of the battery.

What value do you place on the “soft costs”?

Although the soft costs are more difficult to calculate, we understand their importance. We have a passion for sustainability and risk management.  EcoSmart exit signs use the least amount of energy, require no bulb and substantially reduce and/or eliminate the need for a man on the ladder. EcoSmart creates an exit sign that consumes less energy and less waste than any other sign in the marketplace.