BMI Mechanical Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
BMI Mechanical Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Columbia College

Building and Energy Solutions — a case study from ABM

For more than 150 years, Columbia College has a tradition of transforming young women into leaders.

Columbia College is a private liberal arts women’s college related to the United Methodist Church with a legacy of developing women leaders possessing the courage, commitment, confidence, and competence to build a better world. In addition to the Women’s College, co-educational evening and graduate programs are offered. Enrollment at the Columbia, SC campus is 1,500 students from 23 states and 20 countries.

Dr. Caroline Whitson, Columbia College’s President, sought the financial and technical acumen of ABM to assist the college with the difficult task of finding the means to replace an aging infrastructure. As with most private colleges, very strict borrowing rules limited the college’s ability to address the issue on their own. ABM’s experience in this area was imperative to a successful project.


  • Aging infrastructure with no plan for improvement and modernization
  • Limited funding available for improvements
  • Student and faculty comfort issues


  • New HVAC systems with individual room controls
  • High-efficiency boilers, water heaters, air handlers, circulating pumps and state-of-the-art building controls
  • Financial guarantees which allow for project financing


  • Improved student learning environment which helped raise student retention from 91% to 97%
  • 30% energy reduction and with reduced operational cost will generate $6 million in capital funding over 15 years
  • Improved indoor air quality and comfort conditions
  • “We were able to improve the quality of life for our students, faculty and staff; and diminish our impact on the environment,” said Dr. Caroline Whitson, President of Columbia College.




A 10% decrease in energy use could lead to a 1.5% increase in net operating income.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ENERGY STAR program

BMI’s corporate mantra of ‘Where Better Really Matters’ is not only true, but stringently adhered to by their staff. The typical less onerous route of letting someone else deal with an obvious warranty issue would have been the reaction by a number of service companies, especially over a holiday period. The perseverance of BMI’s staff speaks volumes about the company’s integrity and capabilities.

Charles J. Gill
Integrated Service Group, Inc.