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We present a new design concept for adaptive wireless communications with new trade-offs between system performance and energy consumption. The system performance, in terms of bit error rate, outage probability, and achieved spectral efficiency, depends on constellation signaling, applied diversity, and channel estimation. Resources dedicated to channel estimation and feedback traffic contribute to the overall system and network energy consumption, and the resulting CO2 emission. We consider the trade-offs among different methodologies and parameters toward an energy-efficient green communication system design. Below, we discuss the degrees of freedom in the design of communications systems with imperfect channel estimation and diversity, and investigate their energy saving options. We present the case studies of single- and multicarrier systems applying both margin-adaptive and rate-adaptive pilot-assisted transmission.