Seattle, Wash.- Green construction, sustainable development, wood composite panels and squeezing the most out of fiber resources at biorefineries are among the topics featured at the 41st International Wood Composites Symposium March 26 – 28 at the Red Lion Hotel on Fifth Avenue in downtown Seattle.

Engineers and scientists from around the globe are gathering beginning today for the 41st annual conference, which is sponsored by the Washington State University Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory. A full conference agenda is posted at www.woodsymposium.wsu.edu.

“Creating Value from Our Forest Resources” will be the topic of keynote speaker Murray Sturgeon, managing director of Nelson Pine Industries in New Zealand. With more than 40 years of experience, Sturgeon is considered a founding father of the composite materials industry and will discuss how we harvest and use forest resources has changed over the past four decades.

Wood should be the material of choice for sustainable development, according to James Wilson, professor emeritus at Oregon State University and vice president of the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials.

He says despite the fact that wood is a renewable resource that can help to reduce global warming and harmful pollutants and uses less fossil fuel than competitive materials such as concrete and steel, current green building standards and purchasing criteria for residential and commercial structures have yet to acknowledge wood’s full benefits.

Wilson is one participant in a panel discussion on “Sustainable Construction” moderated by WSU researcher and symposium co-chair Robert Tichy.