Why Houses In Bermuda Have White Stepped Roofs

Many of Bermuda’s residents live in limestone cottages painted in pastel colors, but all of the roofs are white……with steps. The reason steps are incorporated into the roofs is because Bermuda has no fresh-water springs, rivers, or lakes. The roof steps slow down heavy rainfall, helping the gutters to collect the water and store it in tanks beneath the houses. Thanks to an annual rainfall that makes London look like a desert, the tanks are regularly topped off. Each home is self-sufficient, and there are no water bills. The system was forced on early settlers because of the lack of available fresh water. Later, it became enforced through construction regulations. For each square foot of roof space, houses must have eight gallons of tank space. Made of limestone, roofs are heavy and not easily shifted by hurricanes. The white color reflects ultra-violet light from the sun, which also helps to purify the water. The system also has a less visible benefit: self-sufficiency encourages islanders to conserve water.