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Morbidity and mortality resulting from exposure to either high or low temperatures is on the increase. The housing environment plays a key-role in protecting the residents from such events, in particular protecting the most susceptible such as the elderly and the very young.
In the first part of this paper, we define what is thermal comfort, and what human and environmental factors influence it. We then discuss the potential health impacts of exposure to excess cold and excess heat, and why keeping temperatures in dwellings within the range of 18-24̊C recommended by the WHO guidance on housing can protect the health of the residents. Finally, we examine what are the most appropriate methods for assessing thermal comfort in the housing environment.