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The current demand in increasing data rate and quality of service in wireless communication has to cope with an energy budget severely constrained by autonomy and ubiquity requirements. Trading off performance and energy consumption deserves the highest attention to enable the "anything, anywhere, anytime" paradigm. However, wireless systems are traditionally dimensioned according to worst-case context scenarios, where the high dynamism of the propagation environment and the user requirements are not exploited. To exploit this dynamism, potentially enabling disruptive energy reduction, we propose a novel approach that trades off performance and energy by regularly reconfiguring the system in order to match the user requirements in given propagation conditions with the minimal total energy consumption. Simulations for a representative scenario show that the total energy consumption can be reduced by a factor 5 to 20 while considering system-level parameters only. Moreover, comparing the system dynamism with typical environment- and user-related time constants shows that implementing the configuration optimization at run-time with the proposed approach can be done with very limited overhead.