Clean & Green Business Practices

Below is a list of some of the clean & green business practices at work in our store.

indoor air quality

MERV 13 Filters: We use MERV 13 filters in our HVAC system, which filter out bacteria, viruses, and microscopic allergens.  Our filters are replaced during preventative maintenance service each quarter.

UV Light Filtration System: We had a whole-building UV Light Filtration System professionally installed to eliminate fungi, bacteria, germs, viruses (including SARS-CoV-2) and other pathogens from our HVAC system.  The air you breathe in Three Rivers Market is clean as can be! 

Fresh Air: We have a continuous supply of uninhibited fresh air through our front doors and loading dock doors.   We keep the HVAC fan operation on to operate the fan continuously, even when heating and air-conditioning is not required.


Please wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

We have free, disposable masks for our customers, employees, and vendors just inside the door!

We will provide reasonable accommodations so that an immunocompromised person who is unable to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and/or a person with a disability can benefit from the goods and services available at Three Rivers Market in accord with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  To request an accommodation, complete this short survey

All surfaces are frequently sanitized. We maintain a self-serve sanitizing station at the front door for shopping carts and baskets.

Our Return to Work criteria for employees with any illness follows CDC guidelines for health care professionals.

Building Reuse

We worked with Studio Four Design when we moved into our new location. A priority from the beginning of the project was to reuse as much of the existing building floor, walls and roof as possible. The ‘ghost’ of the original building is still visible both inside and outside.

Community Connectivity

Our store is conveniently located in Downtown North, providing easy access to both the neighboring areas and I-275.

electric vehicle chargers

Three Rivers Market hosts two electric vehicle car charging stations in the Blink Network – free for customers during store hours!  Just come to the Customer Service Desk to get the Blink Code and charge up your car while you shop.

Alternative Transportation

Our area is great for biking. North Central Street features bike lanes and we have seven secure bike racks (made from 96% recycled materials) provided near the entry to the store for the convenience of our customers. We have a bike fix-it station with everything you need for minor repairs and airing up your tires, courtesy of local, independent, nearby bike shop Tennessee Valley Bikes. Three Rivers Market is located on four (#13, #20, #21, and #24) bus routes and is the only grocery store in Knoxville that participates in the Shop and Ride Program, offering a free bus ticket to all customers who make a purchase of $10 or more. We also nourish a healthier environment with an Alternative Commuting benefit, which pays Employees for each day they walk, bike, carpool, or take the bus to and from work.

Energy Conservation

The building incorporates many energy-conservation elements.

      • The roofing system utilizes “SIPS” panels, which are Interior & Exterior Sheathing [or plywood] with 6” of insulated Styrofoam sandwiched between the boards.
      • The mechanical systems were designed for optimal performance and energy conservation, as well as increased ventilation for outstanding indoor air quality.
      • The refrigeration systems are energy efficient units and utilize heat capture from the refrigeration systems to pre-heat hot water.
      • Building overhangs and entry canopy provide shading for the glazing in the building to reduce solar heat gain
      • The building’s lighting is environmentally conscious and energy efficient fixtures were selected.

Green Power

The co-op has proudly participated in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Green Power Switch program since its inception, purchasing 33 Green Power Blocks of renewable energy each month. In June of 2014, we became a TVA Green Power Provider ourselves as we invested in a new 49.88 kilowatt, 344-module solar photovoltaic system for the south facing Baxter Avenue side of our roof. Tennessee’s ARiES Energy installed our sleek black solar panels, which are environmentally responsibly made in Mississippi by Stion, in full compliance with the European Union Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. Have questions? Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about our solar system!


Our outdoor sign and parking lot lighting and interior lighting, including the refrigeration cases, are lit with energy-efficient LEDs.  All of the lighting for the sales floor and exterior is controlled by a programmable system to maximize energy-efficiency.

Storage & Collection of Recyclables

Three Rivers Market is intentional about waste management. We maintain a dumpster for weekly cardboard pick ups. And we participate in mixed recycling, including: plastic bottles & containers #1 & #2; paper, paperboard; newspapers; brown paper bags; and aluminum, steel & tin cans throughout the store. Three Rivers Market sets aside and delivers cardboard trays to Young-Williams Animal Center each week which uses them for pet beds and litter boxes. Assorted packaging materials including padded and unpadded mailers, bubble wrap, air pillows, packing paper and peanuts are collected and taken monthly to local shipping businesses for reuse. In addition, the Deli’s cooking oil is recycled.


Our comprehensive Green Waste Reduction Program minimizes food waste in the following ways:

  1. The majority of our unsellable but edible foods are given to Second Harvest Food Bank for distribution to organization serving the needy.
  2. Grab and Go refrigerated items prepared by our Deli are culled on their Sell By date and made available to employees in the breakroom.
  3. High quality, compostable food scraps from our Produce and Deli departments are collected and given to area farms and gardens for use as animal feed and/or compost.

Daylight & Views: Daylight

The new facility incorporates a large ribbon of glass surrounding the sales floor, allowing natural light to spill into the space and offering views of the surrounding treetops. Occupants will enjoy the introduction of daylight into the entire public space, as well as the main office.


A natural landscaping plan for water quality, aesthetics, and promotion of certain plants was implemented in the spring of 2013. Designed by Leah Gardner, MLA, a local Environmental Design Consultant specializing in natural landscaping, it features native and edible plants, including blueberries along the patio, pollinator gardens, and a demonstration herb garden.  Our construction and relocation plan was to transform an abandoned bread warehouse with no green space into a vibrant, cooperative center of sustainable commerce featuring functional and beautiful natural landscaping. Gardner Monaco Design manages our landscape.

LEED Accredited Professional

The design team included a LEED accredited professional. Throughout the project, careful attention was taken to ensure design and environment related issues were addressed in a green, sustainable mind frame. Although eligible for LEED certification, we opted to direct those resources elsewhere.

Stormwater Design: Quantity Control

The City of Knoxville complies with the EPA’s requirements for Stormwater Runoff, to reduce pollution and contamination. Our stormwater management is inspected and maintained monthly.

Water Use Reduction

Water-efficient plumbing fixtures and equipment were selected to conserve overall water usage and consumption within the store, and are based on the EPA Act of 1992.

Green Award

Three Rivers Market is a proud recipient of a 2012 Green Project Award from the U.S. Green Building Council, East Tennessee Chapter.