From Talk to Action: How the Power Down Getting Green Data Center Retreat Has Grown into a Movement

As the saying famously goes, actions speak louder than words. It’s with this thought in mind that Kohler and Schneider Electric recently partnered to host the second Power Down: Getting Green Data Center Retreat. Instead of the in-person conference being the culmination of meaningful interactions, it was a jumping-off point for more to come. 

Over the next year, attendees will continue to meet to study three key areas and create action plans that will advance sustainability in our industry. More on that in a minute, but first, let’s recap how we got here. 

Getting Green: A Stage for Talking Truth

Don’t get us wrong. Conversation played a significant role in the three-day event that brought together data center leaders from across the globe... After all, how can we advance the conversation on sustainability in the industry without a common space to have productive conversations?

The event began with a poignant opening keynote from Robert Swan, polar explorer and environmental leader. He set the stage by drawing a strong connection between the roles of leaders in the industry and our responsibility to lead the charge in establishing better sustainability practices. See more on his talk in this DataCenterDynamics article, including his efforts to preserve Antarctica as the last great unexplored part of the world through the 2041 Foundation.

As the event went on, several leading sustainability experts led discussions on topics such as Scope 3 emissions and building data centers with sustainability in mind. Throughout the various talks, the group identified three crucial areas for improvement: 

  • Establishing data centers as a friend, not a foe
  • Proving that green energy sources are viable
  • Establishing stronger industry-wide building standards

This is where words meet action.

Getting Green: From Talk to Action

Attendees have formed post-event committees that will meet regularly to delve deeper into these topics and develop actionable steps to enhance sustainability practices. Each topic has its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. 

Establishing Data Centers as a Friend, Not a Foe

The challenge: The industry must demonstrate its value to communities beyond job and tax revenue generation. Data centers provide services that matter, and they can do so sustainably.

Why it matters: Data centers empower technology that shapes the way we live and work. Without the critical services that data centers provide, the connected devices we rely on are incapacitated. We have to find ways to work together that will be mutually beneficial, and do so in a sustainable way, so the infrastructure we have come to rely on will continue to enhance our lives. 

Proving That Green Energy Sources are Viable

The challenge: Perceptions of the difficulty and cost of securing reliable sources of green energy hinder adoption. 

Why it matters: Better education on the reliability and availability of alternative energy solutions, such as Kohler backup generators operating on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) for 72 hours, can drive greater industry adoption. **See more on Kohler’s HVO generators here.

Establishing Stronger Industry-Wide Building Standards

The challenge: Despite a growing focus on sustainability, a lack of knowledge sharing and industry standards hinders global progress.

Why it matters: The more we work together to share information that will move us toward industry standards, the more we can reduce the global carbon footprint. 

Getting Green: Join the Movement

Committees will continue to examine these topics and propose solutions in the coming months. The path forward may not be clear and the work won’t be easy, but the effort promises a more sustainable industry and a healthier planet. 

If you are ready to stop talking about data center sustainability and start taking action, reach out to us at to get involved!


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