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Images from the thermal imaging camera taken at the Dalton Senior Center showing the difference in temperature between the windows and the walls.

Dalton Green Committee Wants to Help Residents Track Heat Loss

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The Green Committee on Wednesday voted to request that the town invest in two thermal cameras.
 
The committee could rent them out to residents so they can find where there is heat loss in their homes and be able to make improvements in a targeted and cost-effective manner, committee member Todd Logan said. 
 
The thermal camera attaches to smartphones and costs approximately $230. The committee is interested in buying one for IOS devices and another one for android users. 
 
The committee will coordinate with Town Manager Thomas Hutcheson so he can obtain clarification from the town counsel on any liabilities issues. 
 
If this investment is approved, the committee will determine where to store the devices. 
 
The camera uses infrared energy to display heat signatures. This can capture areas of low temperature that point to voids in insulation and areas that allow drafts. 
 
Logan brought one of his thermal cameras to the meeting to demonstrate how it works. The device is similar to the ones used by professional energy assessors during blower-door tests. 
 
These tests help determine a home's airtightness and informs where energy-saving improvements can be made. 
 
The more people who work to increase energy efficiency by better insulating their homes and reducing interior and exterior air transfer ultimately lowers greenhouse gasses, Chair David Wasielewski said. This will also aid in the town's efforts to increase decarbonization,
 
According to Energy.gov, "establishing the proper building tightness" helps reduce energy consumption, prevents moisture condensation problems and uncomfortable drafts from outside, and controls outdoor contaminants like pests and odors from outside, and more.

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West Side Residents Build Ideal Neighborhood At Zoning Session

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Program manager James McGrath opens the session at Conte Community School.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Residents mapped out a West Side they would like to see during an input session this week, utilizing multi-use properties to create robust density.

Held at Conte Community School on Monday, this was the second meeting of a project to examine zoning in the neighborhood. The Department of Community Development, in partnership with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, has been working with an urban planning and design consulting team on the effort that will conclude on June 30.

"This is a really important project for your neighborhood," Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath said.

Multifamily houses with spaces to accommodate a small business were popular. A community center, church, year-round farmer's market, and even a place to draw in commerce appeared as elements on the tabletop street.

An emphasis was also placed on the amount of immigrants coming to the area in need of housing.

Max Douhoure, community outreach coordinator for Habitat, explained that he grew up in Africa where people liked to live together, which his build reflected.

"I wanted to improve their conditions," he said. "That’s what I did."

During the first meeting in November, the team heard desires for businesses and commercial uses — including a need for small, family-owned business support. The session provided an overview of what zoning is, what zoning can and can't do, how zoning can improve the community, and the impact on residents.

"Today's exercise is really about creating spaces in buildings and on properties to do a combination of residential [uses] that meet the needs and commercial uses that meet the needs of the neighborhood,"  Emily Keys Innes, principal of Innes Associates explained.

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