Quick Spark Blogs

Ideas, explanations and examples about electrical topics and issues.

Emergency Lighting Systems

Emergency Lighting Systems

As a business owner, it is crucial to ensure you have an appropriate emergency lighting system set up in your store, office, workshop or factory. Emergency Lighting saves lives in case of emergencies like fire, floods and any other situation where the main lighting fails or switches off, leaving the space and its workers in the dark and at risk.

There are two ways to power Emergency Lighting Systems:

  1. Self Contained or Single Point systems contain their own power supply in the form of a battery
  2. Central Battery systems have a battery located elsewhere within the premises which supply power to the emergency light through cabling.

The main deciding factor between these two options is generally the associated costs. Central Battery systems are more expensive, but worthwhile in large projects where longevity and low maintenance are the priorities. The cost of luminaires (lights) and their installation is another important consideration, especially on smaller jobs, in which case Self-Contained luminaire tend to be the more popular choice. Below we will look at the pros and cons of each system.

Self Contained or Single Point systems


  • Light installation is faster and more cost efficient since there is no need to add power cables
  • Cost efficient standard wiring can be used
  • The requirement to light the luminaire will be automatically satisfied by the burn through of the mains cable
  • Maintenance costs are low, with only periodic testing and basic cleaning required
  • Minimal hardware equipment costs
  • Enhanced system integrity since each luminaire is independent
  • Ease of extension with additional luminaires
  • No need for specialised sub-circuit monitoring


  • Environmental conditions may differ across the system – batteries can be affected by high or low temperatures
  • Low battery life of two to four years
  • Testing entails isolation and observation of each luminaire separately

Central Battery Source


  • Simple maintenance and routine testing on a central power source
  • High battery life of 5 to 25 years depending on the type
  • Environmentally stable in a protected area – the batteries are not affected by changes in temperature
  • Large batteries are more cost efficient per unit of power, and the luminaires are usually cheaper.


  • Higher costs for capital equipment
  • Higher costs for wiring and installation as the system needs fire resistant cables to each luminaire
  • Poorer system integrity since the failure of the battery or wiring circuit can result in a large part of the system also failing
  • A “Battery Room” is needed to contain the batteries and charging circuits and may require a ventilation system
  • Emergency lighting may not be triggered in areas where the localised mains fail

If you need some assistance in determining which system is best for you, we are more than happy to help. We can run through some basic questions and offer you a quote for the equipment and installation. As professional, qualified electricians, the Quickspark team is ready to help you make sure your premises is up to OH&S standards. Call today to get the ball rolling!

Reshma Anik

Read more posts by this author.

Have an electrical emergency? Call Now to Book an Appointment!

    Call us on 1300 877 275


    Quick Connect