Old Town Trolley - Sightseeing Via Clean Transportation

For this small business, clean transportation is the key to success. Over the last 20 years,Old Town Trolley Tours has provided sightseeing tours using 27 trolleys and 5 “boats on wheels” vehicles. They give tours to approximately 500 to 1,000 people each day. Old Town Trolley’s CEO, Chris Belland, instituted companywide “green” policies, including changing trolleys to run on propane and “boats on wheels” to run on biodiesel. Both changes helped create cleaner transportation methods. As Belland puts it, “it is small things like this that add up to environmental awareness for our company and people who visit our locations.”

In addition to making cleaner transportation decisions, Old Town Trolley Tours implemented energy efficiency measures. They utilized their local utility’s energy and lighting audit services to measure usage. After these audits they changed outdated lighting in their facility to use less energy and save money. They utilized on-bill financing and rebates to pay for the lighting changes. These proactive changes annually save over 300 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere and $1,440 in annual lighting costs.

What Actions Did Old Town Trolley Tours Take to Drive Clean?

Old Town Trolley Tours moved away from traditional gasoline fuel for their fleet. Their trolleys now use propane for fuel and their “boats on wheels” run on biodiesel. Both alternative fuels are more environmentally-friendly and reduce the demand for foreign oil imports. Use of these fuels equates to a reduction of more than 300 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

What Actions Did Old Town Trolley Tours Take to Save Energy?

Old Town Trolley contacted their utility, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), to conduct an energy and lighting audit. This audit led to a complete lighting retrofit of their facility. In the office they replaced 8-foot T-12 lights with T-8 lights. For their high bay lighting, they replaced 400-watt metal halide lights with T-5 lights. These changes have saved about 9,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. They also put lights on timers and use as much natural light as possible, helping to reduce energy use by 33%.

How Did Old Town Trolley Tours Pay For Their Lighting Retrofits?

Two San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) programs helped Old Town Trolley achieve their facility improvement goals. The Small Business Super Saver program provided them with a $3,200 rebate for their lighting retrofit project, paying for about a third of the project’s cost. An On-Bill Financing program allowed Old Town Trolley to secure interest-free financing through SDG&E to pay for the energy-efficient improvements. Old Town Trolley is currently repaying the loan through their monthly utility bill. By installing the new equipment, SDG&E estimated monthly energy savings at $120 per month and leveraged it against the $118 monthly loan payment.

Old Town Trolley Tours turned their gasoline- dependant small business into a more environmentally-friendly, energy efficient sightseeing adventure by making both small and large changes to their traditional business practices.

"Old Town Trolley continues to improve their green efforts beyond what they have already done to ‘green’ their fleet and facility. They are the embodiment of what a ‘Cool California’ small business should strive for in taking action to keep the planet cool." - EricaLeigh Beal, Energy Programs Advisor, San Diego Gas & Electric

Old Town Trolley Tours
2115 Kurtz Street
San Diego, CA

Provides sight-seeing tours in vehicles powered by alternative fuels like biofuel and propane.

Actions to Drive Clean & Save Energy

  • Uses biodiesel and propane vehicles
  • Retrofitted facility lighting systems using on-bill financing
  • Uses tap filtered drinking water instead of a bottled water service
  • Publishes monthly “green activities” booklet for employees
  • Banned Styrofoam cups in favor of coffee mugs
  • Set-up a recycling program
  • Created a ‘Green Team’ to inform the public

Estimated Yearly Cost Savings

  • $1,440 from lighting retrofits

Estimated Yearly Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions

  • 300 tons of CO2 from alternative fuels
  • 6.5 tons of CO2* from lighting retrofits
    (*Over the lifetime of the new lights)