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Both NZ and Australia have now changed their building codes to allow photoluminescent systems to replace electrical emergency lighting and electrical exit signs. NZ made the code changes in 2007 and 2012. Australian changed its exit sign code in 2014 and the new National Construction Code (NCC) addressing emergency lighting will come into force on May 1.

In NZ we’re seeing that electrical solutions cost 8 to 10 times the cost of a photoluminescent (PL) solution. On that basis the NZ economy has saved up to $19 million by replacing electrical with PL lighting and signs – and a good chunk of that is taxpayers’ money.

Can Australia realise similar efficiency gains when NCC 2016 comes into force?

We know that it will depend on those in compliance and consulting being able to resist the pressure that they will get from the electrical industry. If our NZ experience is repeated in Australia, every time we make $50 the electrical industry will lose $500 so there will be a lot of pressure!