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In wireless sensor networks, energy is the most crucial resource. In-network data processing is a common technique in which an intermediate proxy node is chosen to house a possibly complicated data transformation function to consolidate the sensor data streams from the source nodes, en route to the sink node. We investigate into the placement problem of the proxy. We formulate and solve the energy minimization problem analytically, based on an ENergy- Efficient Rate-Governed Yardstick (ENERGY). An optimal solution is derived based on complete network topology information. Taking into account realistic sensor network constraints that only neighboring network connectivity is known to a node, we develop an approximate but effective solution, ENERGY . We evaluate the performance of ENERGY, which performs well even in low-density networks and for queries requesting from data sources at a distance.