When Energy Star closed the exit sign category, specifiers and inspectors no longer had a mark of distinction with which to identify top-tier products. There were even instances of people seeking out new old stock Energy Star labeled signs and preferring them over newer (better) signs, just because of the brand recognition of Energy Star.
In response to concerns over the loss of the Energy Star program and associated marks, the NEMA Emergency Lighting Section established the NEMA Premium Exit Sign program. This program serves to distinguish high-performance Exit signage and supply it with a mark that notes its distinction. Products in the program are judged against NEMA Standard EM-1, which details visual and electrical performance criteria and testing. Signs which meet NEMA EM-1 in so doing meet many mandatory standards at once. Signs tested in compliance with NEMA EM-1 represent the best products available.
The NEMA Premium Exit Sign program will be rolling out over the next month. More information please visit our webpage: http://www.nema.org/prod/lighting/premiumLighting/