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The increased demand for wireless connectivity emphasizes the necessity of efficient wireless communication as resources such as the available spectrum and energy reserves become limiting factors for network proliferation. Recent advancements in software-defined radio enable high flexibility of the physical layer allowing fine grained transmission adjustments. Although communication efficiency can greatly benefit from physical layer flexibility, modern wireless protocols can neither handle these new opportunities nor allocate resources according to the overlying application needs. In this work we develop WhiteRate, a method for physical layer parameter adaptation that efficiently utilizes available energy and spectrum resources, while maintaining the desired quality of communication. Our solution adjusts the modulation and coding scheme, and channel width to achieve a communication profile that matches application requirements. We implement WhiteRate in GNUradio and evaluate it in both indoor and outdoor environments. We demonstrate improvements on two important fronts: spectrum utilization and energy efficiency. Moreover, we show that by using WhiteRate, both benefits can be achieved simultaneously.