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IEEE 802.15.4 is a standard designed for low data rate wireless personal area networks (WPANs) intended to provide connectivity to mobile devices. Such devices have considerable storage, energy, and communication constraints. However, they can be used in a variety of applications like home/office automation, healthcare, environmental control and more. To extend the lifetime of the WPAN, we propose a backward compatible energy efficient 802.15.4 MAC protocol (DEEP) for beacon-enabled sensor networks. The implementation of DEEP requires modifications to the Superframe Guaranteed Time Slot (GTS) distribution. This modification optimizes the GTS distribution providing reduced energy consumption. We implemented the improvements to the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol using real sensor nodes in a wireless network. Specifically, we conducted an energy study of DEEP's acknowledgment-based GTS descriptor distribution scheme and compared the results with the standard implementation. Experiments show that DEEP reduces energy consumption up to nearly 50% when 7 devices allocate guaranteed time slots descriptors during normal communication.