What is ‘healthy housing’? The World Health Organisation (WHO) summarises the characteristics in its guidelines on housing and health. These guidelines keep us informed of housing policies and regulations at national, regional and local levels. Accessibility, safety features to limit domestic accidents and sufficient space to avoid overcrowding are among the recommended criteria. Unsurprisingly, the WHO also insists on the temperature and insulation of buildings as key features of a dignified and healthy home.
‘For countries with temperate or colder climates, a temperature of 18˚C has been suggested as a safe and well-balanced indoor temperature to protect the health of the general population during cold seasons,’ recalls the WHO, which also warns about excessive heat in housing. The increasing number of heat waves exacerbated by climate change makes it imperative to address this challenge on a global scale. It is not just a question of comfort, but of public health: taking into account all the health risks, the WHO estimates that 130 000 deaths are associated with inadequate housing conditions in Europe each year.