Photo taken by James Nardacci, Jr.

Bath House


The Bath House / Restrooms offers potable water, hot showers, sinks, flush composting toilets, dishwashing stations, and the latest in green technology, including solar electric and solar heat.


Since its acquisition by the AMC in 1931, Noble View has been a rustic destination. For the many years that a tight-knit community of Berkshire Chapter members enjoyed Noble View, the absence of sanitary plumbing and washing facilities wasn’t detrimental to folks’ enjoyment of the property.

In 2004 we began to spread the news about Noble View throughout the AMC and our local community in an effort to make the property available to a larger population of potential guests and users. The ease of travel to Noble View makes it accessible to many who wouldn’t choose a remote destination, and their expectations are higher. Many people aren’t interested in spending a weekend at a facility that has no potable water or sanitary facilities.

It soon became apparent that we would have to build a bath house and ensure a supply of potable water if we expected to serve the type of population who’d be likely to use the facility.

Download the bath house floor plan

Many thanks to Erica Gees of Kuhn Riddle Architects for her fantastic work on this design project!


Building Green

Download educational panels.

From foundation to rooftop, the bath house features the latest in green building technologies and systems to conserve energy and natural resources. 

The concrete floor slab radiant heating, Solarwall heating and cooling technology, and enhanced insulation will result in a 90% decrease in energy use for heating. The exterior walls will provide an insulation value of R30, and the roof has an R60 insulation value. The world’s most energy efficient windows and doors, manufactured by Thermotech Fiberglass, will complement the insulation. 

Other green technologies and features include composting toilets and on-site grey-water disposal, passive ventilation with cooling, maximized natural daylighting, and high-efficiency compact fluorescent lights and light-emitting diode light fixtures. On-demand hot water will minimize energy consumption during non-use periods. Roof-mounted solar electric panels will supply electricity to the campus, as needed, or will spin our electric meter backwards.

Clivus Composting Toilets and Perc-Rite® Grey-water System

The bath house waste system utilizes composting toilets and grey-water systems to fulfill the Water Efficiency criteria. These foam-flush toilet fixtures, which look like conventional flush fixtures, ensure user acceptance while using only 3oz. of water per flush. This cuts water used for flushing by over 97%, as compared to conventional 1.6gpf (gallon per flush) toilets. Additionally, Clivus composting toilet systems eliminate nutrient pollution caused by conventional waste treatment technologies such as septic and sewer systems.

To maximize water conservation, the Perc-Rite® drip dispersal system will manage the grey-water from hand and dish sinks, and from the showers. Drip dispersal irrigation provides the optimum conditions for groundwater recharge to the receiving environment. By distributing time-dosed, low-volume amounts of grey-water equally over the entire absorption area, this technology provides for the controlled dispersal of neutralized grey-water safely back into the environment. Although grey-water is discharged at a relatively low rate, large quantities can be distributed over long periods without saturating the surrounding soil. And nutrients can be recycled back to the soil rather than become a source of pollution.

Solarwall – Simple and Effective Solar Heating and Cooling

The Solarwall, mounted on the south elevation of the building, will help to both heat and cool the building. Generically termed a transpired solar collector, Solarwall is a thin, dark-colored aluminum or galvanized steel cladding perforated by tiny holes, enclosing a plenum between the cladding and the building skin. Air drawn through the 1⁄32” (0.8 mm) holes is heated by the metal before entering the ductwork of the building’s ventilation system. 

On a sunny day, a Solarwall can preheat air from 30°F to 54°F. On cloudy days, diffuse radiation is collected, albeit at much lower efficiency than direct solar radiation. Interestingly, the system’s efficiency improves slightly at colder temperatures, because less collected heat is radiated away. Adjacent snow cover also improves performance by reflecting radiant energy onto the wall. 

A duct running from each Solarwall through the men’s and women’s rooms, and exiting the north wall, will supply fresh air depending upon the seasons. In cold weather, fans will draw pre-heated air from the Solarwall to provide “make-up” air to replace warm air that is expelled through the bathroom exhaust fans. In warm weather, fans on the north wall will bring in cool exterior air, and exterior wall louvers with powered control dampers along the east and west walls will also be utilized for additional fresh cool outside air.

Solar Photovoltaic System

Between January 2008 and December 2009, Massachusetts’ Commonwealth Solar rebate program awarded approximately 1,298 rebates for residential, commercial and municipal projects capable of generating 23.5 MW of electricity - enough to power nearly 3,200 homes in Massachusetts annually. 

Noble View was awarded a rebate for the installation of a 10.5 KW photovoltaic system. This system will supply enough electric power for 5 houses, and will provide most of Noble View’s electric power. By generating clean electricity through this photovoltaic system, we’ll refrain from consuming power that otherwise would cause 6.8 tons of carbon to be spewed into the environment annually.

A Green Building for a Green Organization

The Appalachian Mountain Club, an organization devoted to conservation and stewardship of our natural resources, has built a bath house worthy of its principles. Careful planning and design using the latest green technologies has brought us a structure that will afford convenient, safe, and comfortable facilities to Noble View visitors, with minimal impact on our environment.

© Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved. The Appalachian Mountain Club • Noble View Outdoor Center • 635 South Quarter Road, Russell, Massachusetts 01071 :: Updated 6.10.16