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Former Star engineer builds sustainable folding home

An ex-employee of Star Refrigeration has designed and constructed a ground-breaking folding house, with plans to make it completely self-sufficient.

Richard Perkin has launched his project on Kickstarter to further develop the prototype, with a view to bringing the house to market and allowing the designs to be published for DIY construction. He left his full-time engineering job and sold his house to focus on his dream – a happier, more exciting and more conscious way of life with no environmental impact.

The incredible mobile home, called the BiOS, offers plenty of living space – two up two down, with a roof garden which can be used for growing fruit, and herbs. The 800 square foot house folding structure, which costs around £16,000 to build, aims to provide a truly independent and sustainable lifestyle, ultimately incorporating water, heating, refrigeration and food production along with waste reduction and recycling.

Richard’s design for a new way of living reflects a growth in the tiny house movement and a progression in the nomadic way of life. The mechanical engineer aims to provide a mobile, self-sufficient, off-grid solution for people who want a simplistic lifestyle with minimal impact on the environment.

In fulfilling his dream of a self-sufficient house, the mechanical engineer is using his 10 years of experience as a senior refrigeration consultant for Star Technical Solutions to develop a solar-powered, off-grid atmospheric water generator unit. He says, “Water is the first necessity for living, and not all regions of the globe having sufficient rainfall or readily available water sources. But there is sufficient moisture in the air in most places to allow what is essentially an air-conditioning system to condense that moisture from the air to provide water for drinking, and cultivation of plants. Besides allowing complete freedom of movement without having to worry about a local water source, having such a unit installed in the house will provide refrigeration for food as well as cooling and heating for the inside space.” 

The man behind the ‘not-so-tiny folding house’, said, “I had a desire for minimalist surroundings, but would feel claustrophobic in a traditional tiny house- I’m 6’3’’ tall! I wanted water without having to be connected to municipal services. I wanted a way to grow food all year round within arm’s reach. And I wanted ways to recycle all organic waste and to cook and heat with renewable energy sources...and for all of this to be incorporated into a transportable unit”.

The engineer-turned-architect is looking for £5,000 funding to complete the prototype of the double folding house, and to produce the necessary documentation for plans and assembly instructions. The 800 square foot structure folds down to a shipping container sized unit, so it is easily transportable anywhere in the world.

Richard added, “The BiOS is a living platform designed to challenge the norms, to redefine the idea of a house as a home...a vision to create a spacious, light and airy structure that provides the benefits of mobile living without the limitations of mobile homes, and offers the advantages of traditional static homes without the associated costs and disadvantages.”

“My aim is to make the design available to as many people as possible in both, developed and developing countries so that anybody can build it for themselves at minimum costs as most of the structure is made from off the shelf materials and components”

 To view the Kickstarter campaign visit:

To find more about and the process behind the construction of the not-so-tiny folding house, go



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