Making the Impossible Possible

The Caux Palace showcased as an example for sustainable restoration of historic buildings in Switzerland

Caux Palace press Feb 2023


When you own a unique historic building like the Caux Palace with its 225 rooms, 1,600 windows and 1.6 kilometres of corridors, reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 seems a Herculean task. But each step on the way is important. Over the last years IofC Switzerland has worked continuously on improving the ecological sustainability of its flagship building. 

In its current edition, the top real estate magazine in French-speaking Switzerland,, showcases the Caux Palace as one of five positive examples of how historic buildings can be preserved and renovated, while improving ecological sustainability.

Read the full article featuring the Caux Palace (in French)


The corridors at the Caux Palace add up to a total length of 1.6 km


Restoring historic buildings keeps local history alive and anchors them in their communities. This is certainly true of the Caux Palace. Its prominent position high above Lake Geneva and its long and rich history attracts tourists and visitors.

Restoration is also a step towards ecological sustainability because it maximizes the use of existing materials and reduces waste and consumption.


Caux Palace Maintenance - Finished room
Freshly-renovated room at the Caux Palace


Sustainable living is part of IofC Switzerland’s mission, as is preserving the Caux Palace. The renovation of the Caux Palace has been carried out gently and subtly to preserve its heritage. This work has included:

  • Progressive insulation of the 1500 m2 of flat roofs. A study is underway to evaluate the installation of invisible (flat) solar panels
  • The regulation of heating in certain areas such as corridors and staircases.
  • Regulation of heating in such areas as the corridors and staircases. 
  • Reduction of the hours when the heating is on.
  •  The use of efficient thermostatic valves and of water flow limiters.
  •  Improved seals on doors and windows and insulation of blinds.
  •  The replacement of lighting with LEDs.
  •  An awareness campaign for all occupants.
  •  A multitude of small measures which, when taken together, represent significant savings.


Adrien Giovannelli, Head of Facilities at IofC Switzerland, explaining the heating and wood storage system after its inauguration in 2016


But the biggest milestone on the Foundation’s road to sustainability has probably been the replacement of the Caux Palace’s oil-fired heating system with a wood-fired one, fed 80% with forestry chips and 20% with oil. The wood comes from the region, thereby reducing CO2 emissions from transport and supporting the local economy.

Setting up the new system in the confined space of the Caux Palace’s basement was not an easy task. The project began in July 2015 and the system was inaugurated in October 2016. It saves about 600 tons of fossil-fuel-based CO2 every year.

We are pleased and grateful that our efforts to maintain and restore the Caux Palace have been recognized in the region. The Foundation will continue to ensure the preservation and sustainability of this unique place.


Read more:



By Ulrike Ott Chanu / Photo top: Paula Mariane

Featured Story
Event Categories
IofC Switzerland

related stories

Eliane Stallybrass

Lost in Translation: Volunteering at the Caux Refuge

When the first Ukrainians arrived at the Caux Refuge, Eliane and Andrew Stallybrass were amongst the first volunteers to welcome them at the Villa Maria and to offer their support. Eliane knew that le...

Training of Trainers Caux October 2022

Training of Trainers and Facilitators in Caux: 'Only the beginning'

What happens when 26 IofC trainers and facilitators from 12 countries embark on a three-day learning journey in Caux on designing and facilitating participatory learning experiences? At the opening se...

Square no logo La Loge move.png

A new Geneva office for IofC Switzerland!

We are back in town! With our representation office now located at "La Loge" in the Domaine La Pastorale in Geneva we look forward to reengage more significantly with International Geneva and offer a...

Annual Report 2021 square EN

Our Annual Report 2021 now available!

We are happy to present our Annual Report 2021, covering all of last year's activities and the celebrations of 75 Years of Encounters!...

Caux Belle Epoque Andrew Eliane Stallybrass J Coté June 2022

Caux in the Belle Epoque

Sunday 19 June 2022 saw crowds of visitors and local people gathering in the park of the Caux Palace for the inauguration of a ‘Caux Belle Epoque’ self-guided walk. ...

Jacqueline Cote square

Jacqueline Coté to become President of IofC Switzerland in April 2022

Christine Beerli will step down as President of the Foundation of Initiatives of Change Switzerland in April 2022, after four years in the role. Jacqueline Coté, former Director of Public Relations at...

Andrew Lancaster

Andrew Lancaster: Responsibilities without borders

Former President of the Council of IofC Switzerland, Antoine Jaulmes, interviews Andrew Lancaster from Australia, who has just stepped down from the Council after 16 years....

Nick Foster

Nick Foster becomes Co-Director General of Initiatives of Change Switzerland

Nick Foster, until now Caux Forum Director, will take over the role of Co-Director of IofC Switzerland, alongside Stephanie Buri. After nine years with Initiatives of Change (IofC) and one year as the...

Paul Misraki

1948 - Paul Misraki: Soundtrack for a new Germany

Germany was in ruins. Europe was in ruins. Millions had been killed; millions more wounded and displaced. There were also ruins of the mind, deep collective trauma in desperate need of healing. In the...

Peter Petersen

1947 - Peter Petersen: ‘All our defences crumbled’

‘At that time, even a dog would have refused a bit of bread from the hand of a German,’ remembered Peter Petersen, one of 150 Germans who the Allies allowed to come to Caux in 1947. They were some of ...

Trudi Trüssel

1946 - Trudi Trüssel: ‘You can’t build with only one class’

"Deep down inside, I blamed the rich, I held them responsible for so many people’s unhappiness. I couldn’t accept that some could have everything they wanted without having to lift a little finger, wh...

Yara black and white

75 years, 75 stories

"My story is not special, or mine. It belongs to this conference centre. It is 75 years long and contains hundreds of thousands of train rides, walks, talks, teas, conversations, and quiet moments of ...

IofC In words EN

Survey: How can we serve you best?

We are committed to inspire, equip and connect you to support you on your journey from personal to global change. But we need your help to see how we can do this best!...

Dolce Riviera 2020 alp horns

Swiss National Day in the gardens of the Caux Palace

Usually, Swiss National Day on 1 August is an opportunity for Caux Forum participants to discover some Swiss traditions, including cheese fondue. This year, it looked like the Caux Palace would be emp...

related events