Abstract: The circulation of used building components is performed through human labour such as assessment, logistics, design, and (de-)construction. This paper analyses different kinds of human energy employed in the process of moving building components from demolition to construction sites for reuse. Based on ethnographic data from Switzerland, Italy, and Austria, we qualitatively assess human energy and labour at different stages of circular construction. Through the use of human skills and knowledge, energy is mobilised to evaluate, document, dismantle, design, store, transport, and construct with materials. Our anthropological approach focuses on people and services instead of treating materials and technologies as independent from the workforce handling them. The results underline the complexity and diversity of opinions regarding the value of labour in relation to overall project costs.