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TGO and sustainable cities: United Nations

TGO Energy Gym for the United Nations, COP22, Marrakech

Designing for greener, healthier communities - a COP22 legacy in Marrakech

The key question:

How can TGO help the United Nations to design the world’s most sustainable cities?

The heart of the challenge:

After exhibiting our TGO Energy Gyms at the Global Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), TGO are commissioned by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to design and install a permanent legacy for the city of Marrakech, to launch at COP22.

The gym must represent the future of urban regeneration – promoting an active lifestyle and generating green energy in a densely populated location. Longer term, it’s about the connection between preventative health and sustainability – by moving more and staying well, we can all reduce pressure on health services, including the hefty carbon footprint associated with treating lifestyle-related diseases.

TGO’s answer:

TGO Energy Gyms don't require any electricity to run and they generate their own energy through people power – but what is the most sustainable design for the city of Marrakech?

The TGO team get to work. Our design goals are clear. We need to motivate local people to increase their physical activity for better health – including complete beginners, young and old. We also need to increase environmental awareness and inspire people to take positive climate action, both as individuals and working together as a community. With summer daytime temperatures soaring to peaks of 50°C in Marrakech, it’s also vital for sustainability to extend the use of the gym into cooler night time hours.

To generate maximum energy, the COP22 TGO Energy Gym features all four TGO Energy Gym pieces. Gym users can increase their cardiovascular health and fitness, by working out regularly on the TGO Energy Cross Trainer, Energy Spinning Bike, Energy Recumbent Bike and our wheelchair accessible Energy Hand Bike. These pieces are all completely intuitive for beginners to exercise – they don’t require any prior fitness knowledge to operate and users can set the pace that is right for them.

To reward every individual’s participation and increase green awareness, we include charging ports for electronic devices. All gym users at the Marrakech TGO Energy Gym can experience the direct connection between getting physically active and reducing their carbon footprint. The faster they pedal or spin at their TGO outdoor gym and the longer they’re active, the more they charge their device for free – it’s that simple!


We also include a TGO Energy Display Unit (EDU), to show the total kilowatt hours generated by gym users. The EDU is not only an educational tool for energy literacy but it also promotes community cohesion – recognising people’s collective efforts towards bigger sustainability goals. At the Marrakech TGO Energy Gym, the EDU stores all the surplus energy and powers lighting after dark – making the space appealing, useable and much safer in cooler evening temperatures.


The key messages around sustainability are all there. Take regular cardiovascular exercise, to keep your body and mind healthy, to be a greener person, to become a more resilient community. The more you get active at the TGO Gym, the less dependent you can be on non-renewable energy sources and unsustainable interventions for chronic disease. 

We’re delighted with the uptake. Locals take ownership of their TGO Gym straight away, motivated to get active by the energy-generating features. In the first 24 hours, Marrakech TGO Gym users generate over 2 kilowatt hours of useable electricity. The site features a 48 watt/ hour floodlight – so within one day, the community generates enough energy to power over 40 hours of lighting!

At COP22, the TGO team attend many brilliant talks and fringe events. We’re really struck by a statistic from the NHS sustainability lead – 65% of NHS carbon footprint is attributable to procurement (i.e. prescriptions rather than buildings). The message at COP22 that disease prevention is key to creating the most sustainable cities really chimes with us – movement is medicine for people and the planet.

UNIDO’s feedback:

At COP22, UNIDO’s Director General, Li Yong, opens the gym, praising the space for its sustainability and inventiveness.

The launch event is also well supported by politicians and community leaders. Morocco’s Minister of Environment, Ms Hakima El Haite, the CEO of Global Environmental Facility, Naoko Ishii, the Mayor of Marrakech, Mohamed Larbi Belkaid and the Governor of the Region of Marrakech and Safi, Abdelfattah Lebjioui are amongst the prestigious guests.


Love TGO Green Energy gyms? Get in touch to talk people power!

  Case Studies
  12 January 2020

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