Energy detection constitutes a preferred approach for spectrum sensing in cognitive radio owing to its simplicity and applicability (it works irrespective of the signal format to be detected) as well as its low computational and implementation costs. The main drawback, however, is its well-known detection performance limitations. Various alternative detection methods have been shown to outperform energy detection, but at the expense of increased complexity and confined field of applicability. In this context, this work proposes and evaluates an improved version of the energy detection algorithm that is able to outperform the classical energy detection scheme while preserving a similar level of algorithm complexity as well as its general applicability regardless of the particular signal format or structure to be detected. The performance improvement is evaluated analytically and corroborated with the experimental results.