Location Kansas City, MO
Size 45,000 ft²
Completed 2011
Program Production facility expansion

Named for businessman/newspaperman/cartoonist Carl ‘Posty’ Postlethwaite, Posty Cards has long been a major player in the greeting card business. The company was officially incorporated in 1948 with Postlethwaite at the helm; more than 60 years later, Posty Cards has built one of seven LEED Platinum manufacturing plants in the United States. It was a 45,000-square-foot, $6.4 million renovation and expansion that doubled the size of the Kansas City, Missouri, facility. “We’re not only committed to promoting sustainability in our own business,” says Erick Jessee, the company’s president, “but also to educating other small businesses that you don’t have to be big to be green.”

Urban Site 

Postlethwaite relegated production to rented industrial spaces until 1987, when he and his son-in-law, Lance Jessee, built the original 22,000-square-foot Posty Cards factory in the light industrial office park east of downtown Kansas City that still serves as the company’s home. The acreage was located on a flat plain of land originally used by commercial and residential structures, though it’s been dedicated to industry since the 1970s. LEED credits were awarded to the expansion project for its proximity to extant urban infrastructural systems and accessibility to freeway, road, and public transit resources.

An 8,300-gallon water-reclamation tank, located in the courtyard, collects rainwater used for flushing toilets and watering the landscaping.


Client Posty Cards
Architect MSM Architects
General Contractor Turner Special Projects
MEP Engineering PKMR Engineers
Civil Engineering SK Design
Structural Engineering KH Engineering

Water Capture

Rather than letting the large flat roof go unused, Posty Cards installed a comprehensive water-capture system. Rainwater is diverted to an 8,300-gallon tank, which is processed by a filtration and sterilization system and then used for flushing toilets and irrigating the landscape in the courtyard area. Water from the office, south factory, and north factory all goes to bioretention basins around the site. The parking lot is constructed on top of a five-foot-deep gravel bed lined with geotechnical fabric to prevent silting. “We have some nonnative, well-adapted plants in our courtyard area,” Jessee says, “and we use the water to make the plants a little more lush than what you traditionally see in the park around the facility.”

The so-called ‘bridge’ at the Posty Cards headquarters connects the manufacturing plant to the offices. It features floor-to-ceiling windows to let in natural light.


Certification LEED Platinum
Site Extant urban site, proximal to urban infrastructure
Materials Insulated metal panels, dual-pane windows
Water Rainwater capture and solar water-heating systems
Energy Rooftop photovoltaics, high-efficiency mechanical systems
Landscape Water-capture system for irrigation

Expanding & Conserving 

Posty Cards uses its facilities for every aspect of its business, and as it added new services and people over the years, it needed to expand. Although the renovation and expansion of the warehouse doubled its size from 22,000 to 45,000 square feet, the new facilities only use five percent more energy than the old facilities. “We’re a small business on a budget, so we used conventional off-the-shelf materials, complemented by high-efficiency HVAC, plumbing, and photovoltaic systems that would earn us the energy efficiency we needed,” Jessee says. The facility’s walls and roof are made of insulated metal panels, its windows are double-paned, and a 198-panel rooftop photovoltaic system generates 44 kilowatts of power, which accounts for more than 11 percent of the factory’s annual power use. Posty Cards was aiming for LEED Gold, but the building’s innovative design earned it LEED Platinum upon delivery in 2011.