That was by design -- an environmentally conscious design that involved choosing paints, adhesives and solvents for the sanctuary that don't emit the odors that compromise the air quality.
Moreover, the $15 million sanctuary, with its low-flow toilets and sinks, waterless urinals and other energy-efficient features, is well on its way to becoming the first in the state to receive special certification for going green.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is the official designation for environmentally friendly buildings that are certified by the United States Green Building Council. The council rates and measures levels of sustainability.
There are 11 LEED-certified religious buildings across the country, according to the council. In Houston, Delaney Hall at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church has LEED-certification, but the hall is primarily used for education. It only occasionally hosts worship services.
Once the Christ UMC in Plano finishes filing the necessary paperwork, it will be the first church in the state with a full-time sanctuary that is LEED-certified.
"We are anticipating that we will be certified by September," Christ UMC Associate Minister Alexandra Robinson told AOL News. She was among the early supporters of the idea to incorporate a sustainability project into expansion plans for the 6,000-member church.
The spacious sanctuary was illuminated with light provided from the energy-efficient ceiling fixtures and from diffused sunlight shining through the towering but elegant stained-glass windows in the balcony.
Choir members led a musical procession from the back of the room to the seats in their new choir section onstage behind the orchestra section. Their beige and brown robes complemented the cool, neutral tones of the room.
The church ministers, already onstage, beamed with pride over the sanctuary that senior pastor Don Underwood described as the beginning of a new chapter in the church history.
"This is a great day in the life of our church," the Rev. Underwood said during the second of three worship services attended by hundreds of members and guests.
Some members were moved to tears over being in the attractive new structure that took nearly three years to complete.
"I saw it when it was being constructed," said Elora Davis, a former member who grew up in the church and returned to see the finished project. Her mother, the Rev. Jan Davis, was one of the assistant ministers involved in the project, but she had to leave before it was completed to accept an assignment as lead pastor at another church.
Elora Davis came to the service to represent herself and her mother. Her assessment of the new green sanctuary: "This is really cool."
Church member Shauna Black is responsible for starting the push for building a sanctuary that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Black, an independent consultant and former executive at Texas Instruments, had experience in working with LEED projects. One of them was the construction of the first LEED-certified semiconductor manufacturing building, in Richardson, Texas.
Black felt that construction of a sustainable sanctuary was a logical project and a practical investment for the church. Church leaders weren't immediately convinced, and members of the architectural team they hired to do the construction had doubts that the money would be well spent, she said.
"They believed it would cost the congregation more money and wouldn't be worth the hassle of going through the LEED certification process," Black told AOL News in an e-mail. "They didn't understand that designing sustainably was merely eliminating waste."
When she took church leaders on a tour of the Texas Instruments facility in Richardson, they were impressed enough by what they saw and decided to make the investment.
The final building cost was less than 1 percent, or about $150,000, more than if they had opted for a traditional sanctuary, a board member told the Dallas Morning News.
The board expects to more than make up for that in energy savings.
To meet sustainability requirements, the building team installed low-flow toilets, urinals and sinks and a special landscaping irrigation system aiming at reducing building water consumption by 42 percent and reducing landscape water usage by 57 percent. They also saved on fuel by purchasing 35 percent of their building materials from within a 500-mile radius of their building site. Regional materials such as steel and limestone and recycled material were used.
The parking lot is concrete instead of asphalt so it will emit less heat. It also has a bike rack and close-up parking spaces for fuel-efficient cars.
"So many members worked tirelessly for this," Richardson said about the sanctuary. "Whether we get the certification or not, what is important is its sustainability."