NOBLE VIEW OUTDOOR CENTER635 South Quarter Road
Russell, Massachusetts 01071
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
It 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.
In 2007, we blasted for the sepic tanks, septic field, and bath house foundation, and we poured, insulated and backfilled the foundation, and installed underground plumbing, propane, and electrical work. Bath house construction was put on hold in the fall of 2007 due to the delay of a construction loan that would have allowed us to frame and close in the building before winter. We insulated the foundation and underground plumbing to protect the cast iron piping against frost heave, and hoped to proceed at full speed once the ground thawed in the spring of 2008.
Throughout 2008, Gary Forish worked on evaluating the
percolation rate of the soils in the facility zone (that portion of the property
on which development is not prohibited by the conservation
restriction), so that a new septic field could be designed and permitted.
With the help and support of Tighe and Bond, one of the oldest continuously
operating engineering firms in New England, we reached a crossroads. A
successful perc test was performed in late 2008, and we learned that we’d
be able to site a gray water septic field in the meadow to the southwest
of the Double Cottage. The site was surveyed in December 2008, and Tighe
and Bond prepared a septic field design for submission to the authorities.
The plan was approved.
Windows and doors came next, then radiant heat piping,
a concrete floor, interior framing, electrical and plumbing, drywall, and
installation of sinks and showers. The Bath House is now complete and open,
and offers potable water, hot showers, sinks, flush composting toilets,
dishwashing areas, and the latest in green technology.
Many thanks to Erica Gees of Kuhn Riddle Architects for her fantastic work on this design project.
From foundation to rooftop, the bath house features the
latest in green building technologies and systems to conserve energy and
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.
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
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 thermosiphon solar chimney will exhaust hot humid air
during the summer months without utilizing electricity. During the daytime,
solar energy heats this black-painted steel chimney and the air within
it, causing an updraft of air within the chimney. This updraft creates
suction at the base of the chimney, resulting in naturally-occurring ventilation
of the hot humid air in the bath house and cooling the building.
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
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.