BEST OF

5 Green Loans to Finance Your Remodel

Green loans help pay for eco-friendly home improvements. Compare personal loans with other financing options.

Apr 20, 2021

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Green loans are personal loans that you use to pay for eco-friendly home improvement projects like weatherization, solar panel installation or a kitchen renovation that uses sustainable materials and appliances.

Green personal loans are one financing option; others include government and credit unions loans and home equity. If you decide to get a green loan, compare lenders to find one that offers an interest rate, term and monthly payment that fits into your budget.

Here are six lenders that offer green personal loans.

Green Loans to Finance Your Remodel From Our Partners

Our pick for

Green loans with low rates and large amounts

SoFi
Get rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

7.99-23.43%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on SoFi's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

SoFi offers online personal loans with consumer-friendly features for good- and excellent-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Hardship program for borrowers in need.

  • Mobile app to manage loan.

Cons

  • No option to choose initial payment date.

  • High minimum loan amount.

Qualifications

  • Must legally be an adult in your state.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.

  • Must be employed, have sufficient income or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 23.43% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

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Our pick for

Green loans with credit-building tools

Upgrade
Get rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

7.96-35.97%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

Upgrade offers personal loans plus credit-building tools; you'll need strong cash flow to qualify.

Pros

  • Secured and joint loans.

  • Multiple rate discounts.

  • Mobile app to manage loan payments.

  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

Cons

  • Origination fee.

  • No option to choose your payment date.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 1 account.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including the loan you're applying for.

  • Minimum length of credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income requirement: None. Lender accepts income from alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security and other sources.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.85% to 8.99%.

  • Late Fee: $10.

  • Failed payment fee: $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 7.96%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8.99% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's bank partners. Information on Upgrade's bank partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/bank-partners/.

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Our pick for

Green loans with limited credit history

Upstart
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.42-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Upstart personal loans offer fast funding and may be an option for borrowers with low credit scores or thin credit histories. Upstart is a solid financing choice for large purchases.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Fast funding.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Offers free financial education

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • No joint, co-signed or secured loans.

  • No mobile app to manage loan.

  • Only two repayment term options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum annual income: $12,000; this lender accepts income from employment, alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security, rentals, trusts, pensions, disability and scholarships.

  • Must have a full-time job or be starting a full-time job in six months.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 10%

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

  • Returned check fee: $15.

Disclaimer

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000). The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 25.05% and 60 monthly payments of $25.80 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $15,478 including a $804 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in June 2022. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved. This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the Upstart.com website.

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Our pick for

Overall green loans

Lightstream
Get rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

6.99-22.49%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660
Get rate

on LightStream's website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

For every loan LightStream originates, it plants a tree through its partnership with American Forests. The lender says it has planted hundreds of thousands of trees through the initiative.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

  • Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Rates quoted are with AutoPay. Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $25,000 loan at 4.98% APR with a term of 20 years would result in 240 monthly payments of $164.71. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2022 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

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Our pick for

Green loans for excellent-credit borrowers

Discover
Get rate

on Discover's website

Discover® Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover

Est. APR

6.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$2,500-$35,000

Min. credit score

660
Get rate

on Discover's website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

Discover personal loans can be a smart way to consolidate or refinance debt for borrowers with excellent credit.

Pros

  • No origination fee.

  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Fast funding.

  • Mobile app to manage loan.

Cons

  • May charge late fee.

  • No co-sign or joint loan option.

  • No rate discount.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Must have a minimum household income of $25,000.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: $39.

Disclaimer

This is not a commitment to lend from Discover Personal Loans. Your approval for a loan is determined once you apply and is based on your application information and credit history. Your APR will be between 6.99%-24.99% based upon creditworthiness at time of application for loan terms of 36-84 months. For example, if you get approved for a $15,000 loan at 10.99% APR for a term of 72 months, you'll pay just $285 per month. Our lowest rates are available to consumers with the best credit. Many factors are used to determine your rate, such as your credit history, application information and the term you select. Not all applications will be approved.

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Green loans from online lenders

Some online lenders refer to loans you use toward energy- and water-saving home improvements as "green loans." These are unsecured personal loans you use to pay for large-scale projects that might include:

  • Weatherization.

  • Bath or kitchen remodels that incorporate sustainable materials.

  • Double- or triple-pane window installation.

  • Water-efficient plumbing.

  • Low-VOC floors, coverings with low volatile organic compounds.

Aside from how you use it, a green loan from an online lender resembles any personal loan: Annual percentage rates start around 6% up to 36%; loan amounts range from $1,000 to $100,000; and repayments are fixed monthly installments, typically over two to seven years. To qualify for the lowest rates, borrowers generally need good to excellent credit (above 690 FICO), low debt and enough income to cover existing expenses plus the new loan payment.

How to get a green loan

Getting a green loan from an online lender is the same process as for any personal loan. Here are the main six steps.

  1. Check your credit reports. Review your credit report to spot errors that could be keeping your credit score down. If you address them before you submit a loan application, you’ll improve your chance of qualifying. You can see your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com.

  2. Estimate the project costs. Have a reliable estimate before you start looking into financing options. Personal loans come in lump sums, so if you don’t borrow enough, it’s difficult to reapply for more.

  3. Calculate monthly payments. Use a personal loan calculator to see how the new loan fits into your budget. A calculator shows what rate and repayment term you’ll need on the loan in order to afford the monthly payments.

  4. Compare lenders. A good rule of thumb is to choose the lender that offers the lowest APR. You can also compare things like how fast lenders can fund a loan, whether they allow joint or co-signed loans and what kinds of credit-building tools they offer borrowers.

  5. Pre-qualify. Many online lenders let you pre-qualify to see what rate, term and loan amount you could be offered without affecting your credit. You can pre-qualify with multiple online lenders on NerdWallet and compare offers from different lenders at the same time.

  6. Gather documents and apply. If you go with an offer you’ve pre-qualified for, you’ll move to the application process. A lender may ask for information like W-2s, pay stubs and your Social Security number, so have those documents on hand before you apply. Submitting an application will trigger a hard credit pull.

Other green loan options

Some credit unions partner with local governments or utilities to offer low rates on green loans. Consider these alternatives to green personal loans.

Credit union loans

You many receive a discounted interest rate on a green loan from your local credit union. Colorado-based Elevations Credit Union, for example, offers an energy loan that finances updates like solar panels and energy-efficient appliances. Velocity Credit Union in Austin, Texas, has financing for energy-efficient home improvements through a partnership with the local utility company. Both loans have starting rates in the single digits.

Government funding

Federal, state and local governments may offer assistance to make your home more energy- or water-efficient. The Department of Housing and Urban Development offers FHA Title 1 Loans and 203(k) loans. Some cities provide low- or no-cost energy audits for your home and assistance with weatherization financing. You can find more information about local options at your utility company or by using the Department of Energy’s weatherization database.

Home equity

If you have enough equity in your home, you may be able to borrow it to pay for a green home improvement project. Home equity loans come in lump sums and are repaid in fixed installments, typically over five to 15 years.

With a home equity line of credit, you use as much of the money as needed and repay only what you use. HELOCs have variable rates and repayments over a longer term — often 20 years. Using equity typically means securing the loan with your home, which the lender can take if you don’t repay.

Credit cards

Credit cards are best used for small, DIY projects. Contractors may charge a small fee — 2% or 3% of the cost — if you pay with a credit card. If you have a store card from a retailer you plan to use for the remodel, you may get cash back on your purchases. Just pay off the balance to avoid having interest costs outweigh the rewards.

Last updated on April 20, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Green Loans to Finance Your Remodel

  • SoFi: Best for Green loans with low rates and large amounts
  • Upgrade: Best for Green loans with credit-building tools
  • Upstart: Best for Green loans with limited credit history
  • LightStream: Best for Overall green loans
  • Discover® Personal Loans: Best for Green loans for excellent-credit borrowers

Frequently asked questions