The NOVA GmbH based in Donaueschingen on the edge of the Black Forest specialises in larger-scale air conditioning systems. Recently, for example, air handling units with a total airflow volume of 465,000 m³/h were installed in the Kö-Bogen in Düsseldorf.

Managing Director Patrick Honer reports in this interview on this project and the challenges of the future.

Mr Honer, please describe briefly to us what NOVA actually does.

NOVA is one of the most traditional and innovative manufacturers of what we call “air handling units”. NOVA’s air handling units are solely used in non-residential buildings, including shopping centres, hotels, swimming pools, hospitals and cinemas as well as multi-storey office buildings, industrial plants and so on.

What are NOVA’s special strengths?

It has outstanding innovation strength and extraordinary versatility. Our solutions are always tailored precisely to each respective project. Every job is a new, individual challenge. This means that we always totally meet customers’ needs – and you might say that that has become our trademark. We are also a founding member of the German Air Handling Association, which essentially commits us to quality and energy efficiency.

NOVA managing director Patrick Honer smiles into the camera

Patrick Honer, Managing Director of NOVA Apparate GmbH from Donaueschingen, Germany 

Your air handling equipment means that you have a presence in a number of striking, architecturally spectacular buildings, such as the BMW four-cylinder building in Munich, the German Stock Exchange in Frankfurt or in the Daniel Libeskind Kö-Bogen development in Düsseldorf. The latter project was the largest in your company’s history, wasn’t it? How did NOVA secure the order? How did the project proceed?

Yes, the Kö-Bogen project was certainly a highlight – technically highly challenging and an extremely futuristic building. We supplied 16 air handling units with high-performance heat recovery to this project. Each unit features a double-plate heat exchanger with integrated indirect, adiabatic cooling as well as the associated cold and I&C technology. The main difficulty was the tight space in the central ventilation plant room, which is why we had to design each unit to fit perfectly into the space. We even had to statically integrate the crucial columns of the building into the design of the units! Bringing the equipment into the building through extremely narrow roof openings was also adventurous – but in the end everything went like clockwork.

The project actually came about through personal contact. Our long-term, trusting collaboration with our customers is undoubtedly our most important sales tool.

Do you currently have similar exciting projects underway?

Perhaps not architecturally as challenging, but technically very interesting is the fit-out of a furniture store in which we have installed air handling units with air volumes of up to 90,000 m³/h. They also feature integrated refrigeration technology with changeover as a heat pump and the associated I&C technology. The client therefore only requires limited volumes of additional heat energy. A very interesting approach from an energy-saving standpoint!

Last year, you launched your new "HighLine” product range. Can you describe in a few words, what makes this system so advanced?

I’d be happy to! NOVA HighLine is a result of the collaboration between Kampmann and NOVA. We integrate Kampmann KA2O technology into the air handling unit, enhancing the unit with other components, possibly including silencers, heaters, direct evaporation refrigeration technology, I&C technology and so on. We therefore adapt the air handling unit precisely to the customer’s specification. The clever feature of the HighLine unit with KA2O is the fact that we are able to cool very close to the saturation line and so, even at extreme temperatures, we can still reach 18° C after adiabatic cooling in the supply air. This can result in no chiller being required.

Ventilation is becoming ever more important with increasingly air-tight building shells. What ventilation strategy do you recommend to builders and designers?

The continuous supply and extraction of the air is essential with increasingly air-tight building shells – otherwise long-term damage to the building and the formation of mould cannot be avoided. In this context, it is important that sufficient space is provided for the technology, also against the background of the Eco-Design Directive, which came into effect on 1 January 2016. Intelligent I&C technology, e.g. CO2-controlled with high-quality heat recovery and an optimised fan, are the buzz words.

What challenges face the ventilation industry in the coming years?

The complexity of air handling units will continue to grow, and so there will be greater need to advise customers and designers. We need to find a way to support our customers and take them along with the rapid technical progress.

NOVA has been collaborating with Kampmann since 2011. What provisional conclusions do you draw from the cooperation?

Cooperation between Kampmann and NOVA began in mid-2011. Both companies complement each other wonderfully in their respective market areas. We also work with each other every day on this development process, advancing step by step. In practice we have already completed many projects together – to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

Last question: In the eternal battle in the office between "window open" or "window closed" – where do you stand? As a research scientist or fresh-air fanatic?

The question does not arise because we deliver "precisely the indoor climate” you need with NOVA air handling units.