In this paper, we address the problem of sensor selection for energy efficient spectrum sensing in cognitive sensor networks. We consider minimizing energy consumption and improving spectrum sensing performance simultaneously. For this purpose, we employ the energy detector for spectrum sensing and formulate the problem of sensor selection in order to achieve energy efficiency in spectrum sensing while reducing complexity. Due to the NP-complete nature of the problem, we simplify the problem to a more tractable form through mapping assignment indices from integer to the real domain. Based on the standard optimization techniques, the optimal conditions are obtained and a closed-form equation is expressed to determine the priority of nodes for spectrum sensing. In the next step, to save more energy, the decision node (DN) selection procedure is proposed to address the problem of direct transmissions to fusion center. Then, the problem of joint sensing node selection and DN selection is analyzed and an efficient solution is extracted based on the convex optimization framework. The novelty of the proposed work is to address the selection of the best sensing nodes while minimizing energy consumption. Simulation results show that significant energy is saved due to the proposed schemes in different scenarios.