Motion activated exterior lighting has been promoted for years from both the security and the energy conservation angle, but we recently discovered an indoor gadget that uses room occupancy to trigger lights.

These motion sensing light switches have been around for a while but haven't received the press of the energy saving light bulbs.  They are also a little hard to find.

We located two manufacturers - Cooper Wiring Devices and Leviton.  The former is sold at Lowe's but not at all locations and not all can be purchased on line. Coopers own website describes the products but after half an hour we gave up trying to find a way to order directly from them.  A few Leviton models are available at Home Depot.

The Cooper switches come in both single pole and 3-way models and in a several neutral colors.  Each has an adjustable photocell that allows for a 150 degree angle of coverage over a 900 square foot area.  The switches also have a delay feature that can be adjusted up to 20 minutes and are compatible with both fluorescent and incandescent light fixtures.  Most of the Cooper switches are $15.00 at Lowe's.

The Leviton switch available at Home Depot is similar to Coopers and is $24.99.  Leviton has a website which sells its products but the motion detectors were not listed.

The switches may be more widely available in lighting stores.

The switches are UL rated and appear to be installed like a regular switch although one reviewer on the Home Depot website complained that the installation instructions for the Leviton switch were not very clear. 

In addition to reducing energy use in those rooms where no one ever remembers to turn off the lights (or in the case of kids, may be too short to do so), the switches are a safety feature, preventing fumbling around for the switch in the dark.