Public Policy Alum Plays Key Role in Atlanta Energy-Burden Fund

Posted May 23, 2024

Matt Cox, a 2014 Ph.D. graduate of the School of Public Policy, played an instrumental role in advancing recent City of Atlanta legislation to help reduce energy burden among low-income residents. 

Why tackling energy burden is important: Atlanta is among the nation’s five most energy-burdened cities. If the program performs as advocates expect, it “could be the most impactful climate and energy policy Atlanta has adopted,” says Cox, who as CEO of non-profit Greenlink Analytics uses his Georgia Tech education to find and advocate for equitable climate and energy policies across the Southeast. 

“This program will ensure that no resident must choose between food on the table and heating or cooling their homes, making a tangible difference in our community,” City Councilwoman Liliana Bakhtiari said in a statement. 

  • High energy burden in Atlanta disproportionately affects the city’s Black residents, according to Cox and School of Public Policy from 2018 and 2024
  • Improving energy efficiency is also a smart way to address climate change, School of Public Policy researchers say
  • Cox worked with former Clean Energy Advisory Board Chairwoman Wykeisha Howe to win backing for the energy burden measure. "We discussed the matter with every council member, emphasizing the necessity of creating a fund to finance essential home improvements that would relieve unnecessarily high bills." he said. "We explained the constraints of federal funding, which often resulted in only partial assistance for many households." 
  • Due in part to Cox’s work, almost every City Council member supported the bill. 

Of note: Cox, who helped develop the energy analytics platform used by Greenlink while a Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech, worked on a similar program for Athens, Georgia. 

Key context: Helping reduce climate change impacts is a key goal of the School. For instance, Regents’ Professor Marilyn A. Brown recently helped Georgia create its first-ever climate action plan. Professor Daniel Matisoff recently won an award for his work on the benefits of green building pilot programs. And educating a new generation of sustainable energy leaders is the mission of the School’s innovative Master of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Management degree. 

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Matt Cox, Ph.D. PubPol 2014, played an instrumental role in recent passage of Atlanta legislatiion meant to reduce the energy burden on Atlanta residents.

Contact For More Information

Michael Pearson
Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts