June 2, 2009 It is a challenge to provide affordable safety lighting in dark and low-light areas. Glowmark is a new product that uses long-lasting, photo-luminescent crystal technology as an alternative to electric lighting. Not only does it not need electricity, it costs nothing to run, is environmentally safe, biodegradable and easy to install.

The "secret ingredient" is the patented synergy glow compound (SGC MKII). The photo-luminescent crystals are placed in a lens and set in a heavy-duty clear plastic shell designed to withstand the elements and make the unit practically maintenance-free.

The warm green light emitted may look a little like kryptonite but, unlike earlier glow-in-the-dark technology, the compound used is non-radioactive and completely non-toxic.

Glowmark emits light for about 48 hours after just eight minutes exposure to daylight or artificial light. The company says its markers are guaranteed to work for 10 years but "in practice, last much longer".

As a self-contained energy source, Glowmark is far more cost-effective than traditional electric lighting. It also claims to cost less than traditional solar-powered lighting, which often relies on expensive NiCad batteries to store energy.

The website compares the cost of Glowmark lighting to LED. While LED lighting units typically range in price from GBP20–650 plus installation and running costs, Glowmark units sell for GBP4.50 and have little or no installation costs and cost nothing to run.

To light a 10m path with LED lighting (with one unit every meter) costs more than GBP1,000 plus running costs. Lighting the same path with Glowmark would cost around GBP200, with no further costs.

Glowmark can be easily fixed and secured, directly or indirectly, to any interior or exterior surface.

At present Glowmark is only available in the form of an arrow but a Glowmark strip and other shapes are under development.

Karen Sprey